Steve Tobak, of Invisor Consulting looked at famous recent innovators and looked for common character traits.
He said that they all had unique outward qualities – Mark Zuckerberg is obsessed with the product, Larry Page is a geeky introvert and Larry Ellison is such an adrenaline freak that he races yachts, flies planes and buys entire islands.
He says that they are so sharp that one minute you are explaining your latest brilliant idea to them, the next minute they are grilling you on details and then they are pushing you to find out why the project has not already been completed.
Also, they are clearly not infallible and that is something that people tend to forget. Even they too, are human.
Tobak says they have a few things in common.
They have a process
Each of them has their own way of doing things but it is a process and they are process oriented. Sometimes they might not even want to admit it, but there is a process and it works for them.
They trust their gut
To the outsider it seems as though they have been self-absorbed and self-sufficient their entire lives. They have become extremely self-confident in terms of following their instinct, especially in areas that inspire them. They will listen to their trusted few but make sure to reserve the final call for themselves.
They have a passion for what they do
That’s why they do it. Whatever ‘it’ might be. Whether it is designing products, writing code, or coming up with a new innovative toy, they love it. It inspires them and is their comfort zone. There is nothing else they would rather be doing.
They are very quick on the uptake
Tobak says that they are able to assimilate data and come to grips with a situation unusually quickly. Something that took you hours to work out, they appear to understand in a second. They are obviously exceptionally smart.
They’re born problem solvers
To them solving problems is a game. It is their best – they love it. Once they understand the problem (which as we said above, they usually do very quickly) they enjoy using their intellect, inspiration and experience to come up with the right solution and decision, normally something that no one else has thought of.
They have something to prove
One would think that at their stage they would not have to prove anything to anyone, but they still have that drive to do so. To whom (including themselves), no one is really clear. But they have this need to achieve and to make things happen. To do great things. And that is what motivates and drives them.
They work their tails off
Although you would think that they would now be less obsessed with work, it is their life. It is not surprising when you think how driven they are to accomplish great things. Whether it is day or night, at home or at work, they usually have a hard time turning it off.
Tobak says that they don’t like yes-men, so if you work with them, you should not be in awe of them. They want you to contribute. Do what you do best and be straight with them.