10 Ways That will Teach You To Think Like Bill Gates

Get "Think Like Bill Gates - Work Sheet" for everyday problem solving. Find out more about the benefits of this Work Sheet at the end of the article.

This article is brainchild of J.D. Meier at Sources Of Insight. He works at Microsoft(I have never met him) and has put together this information after talking to countless people who have interacted with Bill Gates in different situations.If you ever wanted to know how can you improve your thinking and become smarter, YOU must read this.

Bill Gates sees and thinks differently than most people do. He has an amazing ability to find the flaws, or see opportunities, or connect the dots. He can zoom in to details with precision or zoom out to the big picture. He can flip back in time or fast forward to the future. He also has the ability to focus on the merits of the idea or innovation before worrying about the business case. Chances are, you could benefit from Bill’s thinking skills, even if it simply means getting a new perspective on your problems. Whether you’re trying to change the world, or you want to unleash your best, it doesn’t hurt to be able to leverage the thought patterns of a billionaire and one of the world’s most influential philanthropists. While I don’t think Bill will lend you his brain, you can do the next best thing. You can take some of this thought patterns and practices for a test-drive. Here are ten patterns to get you started:

1. Prioritize
“What’s the next best thing you should be thinking about?” It starts here. Time is your most limited and precious resource. This is about asking whether the problem is even worth your time. Before you throw cycles at it, figure out whether it’s worth it. Is it significant? How much time should you spend on it? For an example of how Bill Gates figures out how to prioritize, check out the following video: Bill Gates on Mosquitoes, Malaria, and Education.

2. Ask Smarter Questions
If you want better answers, ask better questions. Rather than getting stuck in one line of questioning, such as “what’s wrong with this?” or “what’s right with this?”, you can explore your thinking more deeply, by asking a range of questions. One of the skills we learn at Microsoft is Precision Questions / Precision Answers. In this approach, there are 7 categories of precise questions:
a) Go / NoGo - Do we need to talk about this?
b) Clarification – What do you mean?
c) Assumptions – What are we assuming?
e) Basic Critical Question – How do we know this is true?
e) Causes – What’s causing this?
f) Effects – What will be the effects?
g) Action – What should be done?

3. Make Data-Driven Decisions
This is one of the toughest switches to make. By default, most people make emotional decisions and then find data to support the decision. This means asking questions like, “what’s the data say?” This means getting informed, before you make your decision. This means evaluating the sources of data. It’s an extreme exercise in emotional intelligence to pause your emotional response, while you check your logic and critical thinking.

4. Divorce Your Ego
This is where you separate yourself from the problem. This is also about separating yourself from the solution. Instead, you hold the problem or solution out in your hands and inspect it from different angles. Rather than focus on whether you’re right, it’s about whether the solution is right. It’s about being able to beat up the thinking, without taking it personally.

5. Frame the problem
Framing a problem is simply how you look at a problem, just like how you frame a picture. It’s about choosing what to focus on, what’s in and what’s out. When you frame the problem, you bound it. Framing also helps you get a better perspective on the problem, as well as share the problem more effectively with others. Some questions to help frame a problem include: Who’s the customer? What are their needs and priorities? What’s happening in the market? What are competitors doing? What are our options for responding? How do we differentiate? How is technology changing and what possibilities does it offer our customers? What are the priorities for our business?

I hope you have visited Source Of Insight and read the complete article.

Think Like Bill Gates - Problem Solving Work Sheet Click here to Download
This is a simple 3 (actually 2.5) pages Work Sheet that will help you you breakdown problems and then apply Bill Gates Thinking Patterns to ask all sorts of question towards your problem. It is divided in 3 main sections Problem Prioritization, Problem Solving and Decision Making. You will not appreciate it until you use it to tackle an existing problem. You can get the Workbook simply by leaving a comment or tweeting about this article.

How will this Work Sheet help you ?
This WorkBook is concise so you can print it and attack each problem from Bill Gates perspective. It will help you to apply Bill Gates thinking patterns while dealing with your everyday problems. You will improve your thinking skills and come up with better solutions. You can also distribute it to your team at work so you all can come up with better solutions for your company, make better decisions and be more successful.