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Book extract: Attributes of business game changers by Gerry Thompson and David W. Mellor

Extract from Inspirational Gamechangers by Gerry Thompson and David W. Mellor

After conducting interviews with 30 candidates for the book, the authors suggest a number of common characteristic attributes.

Personality Gamechangers tend to have a strong sense of self, though not necessarily egotistically so. Independence is a common trait among them; few mentioned significant influence of long-standing mentors. They seem to either possess innate self-confidence, or have the potential to develop strong confidence as they progress; they don’t appear to be plagued by the kind of self-doubt that in others often endangers projects. Their confidence and self-belief is not destroyed by challenges, obstacles or setbacks.

Strategic ability The strategies they use for overcoming these obstacles vary widely – some by rail-roading their way through, some by skirting around, others by changing plans and taking a completely new direction. They are resilient, and can bounce back from catastrophe; they are able to learn and draw value from difficulties or failures. They are good at reflecting and deriving lessons from their actions and experiences, whether these have been successful or not.

Attitude Gamechangers are not afraid to challenge the status quo and often go out of their way to so. They are not generally averse to controversy, and often use it to their advantage. They are competitive, but not necessarily in terms of the quest for financial success – they are often keen to stand out in other ways.

Clarity Gamechangers become clear about what they want to do, though not always from the outset; their influential success requires this clarity. They pursue their vision with commitment and persistence, and do whatever it takes to achieve their primary objective. However they are flexible, adaptable and able to respond. They are skilled at recognising, creating and taking advantage of opportunity.

Personal values Strong personal values appear to be a major driver among gamechangers, driving what they do - but these values differ widely from person to person. They might be driven by the quest for excellence, for fun or adventure, by social values, or being the best in their field.

’People’ people These are not generally loners or social introverts, although some may be quieter types who reflect internally about their achievements while others do this socially. They are able to connect and engage with other people, motivating them to believe in their personal vision and to join their cause; all are persuasive. They build a culture that is right for their project and attract people who fit into that culture; they enrol people in their mission.

Intelligence Gamechangers are smart, but possess very different kinds of intelligence - whether financial, strategic, inter-personal, emotional or animal intelligence –not necessarily strong intellect. They have learned to use the kind of strengths they know they have. They are far from uniform in terms of educational attainment; many top gamechangers have display little academic achievement – or indeed official qualifications.

Inspirational Gamechangers by Gerry Thompson and David W. Mellor is published by Pearson and priced at £14.99. For more information visit

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