Bill Jarrard

Leadership Lessons from the 24th Century

by W J (Bill) Jarrard

During leadership workshops I often refer to the 'Picard style' of leadership, based on the remarkable figure, Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise in the futuristic Star Trek – the Next Generation. Good leaders are often hard to see in action, so it's enlightening to watch so precise a demonstration of modern leadership skills, albeit in a fictional leader. Let's look at Picard's basic Leadership traits.

From youth, Picard was clear on the direction of his life, and where his destiny lay. He set specific goals early, and did whatever was required to meet them. As he matured as a Starfleet officer, he didn't hesitate to "stretch" the boundaries to accomplish a worthwhile end.

Although a typical INTJ in Myers-Briggs type terms, Picard has developed an ability to interact in a range of personality styles. His intuition and clarity of vision distinguishes him from others.

Picard's ability comes not just from academic achievement, but from personal experience and an approach that is bold, yet considered. He takes risks, and allows others to take stretch the boundaries, but is never reckless with the lives of his crew or his ship.

He is a voracious learner, constantly studying and improving. Always the ultimate Captain, he balances an enormous workload with activities that improve him physically (he is an accomplished swordsman), and mentally (his study of archaeology).

But Picard's most remarkable feature is his brilliant use of Whole Brain Thinking. Where today's successful leaders might use new thinking tools such Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats, or Tony Buzan's Multiple Intelligence and Radiant Thinking, in the 24th Century we can see Deliberate Thinking overtly used by Picard through the leadership of his unique Bridge Crew. Let's look at them from a Whole Brain, Multiple Intelligence aspect.

Will Riker, First Officer, a classic 'Socially' intelligent being with a touch of 'Black Hat' caution when it comes to protecting his Captain.

Commander Data, Second Officer, an extraordinary android – with unsurpassed 'Mathematical and Logical' intelligence and the number one 'White Hat' source of facts and information.

Deanna Troi, Ship's Counsellor, a Betazoid empath, with intense 'Emotional' intelligence and a great 'Red Hat' thinker able to identify with others' feeling.

Geordie LaForge, Chief Engineer, who sees the pure energy in things and people to direct his 'Spatial' intelligence. With indomitable 'Yellow Hat' thinking he keeps the great Starship going where no one has gone before.

Lieutenant Worf, Chief of Security, an awesome 'Physical' intelligence whose 'Red Hat' thinking and honour is directed at protecting his family name, his captain, his ship, and his friends.

Ensign Wesley Crusher, Helmsman, the boy genius - a sort of technological Mozart whose 'Creative' intelligence and uncanny 'Green Hat' thinking generate ideas that set new boundaries for his older colleagues.

Then there is Picard himself, Renaissance Man and Multiple Intelligent human, using 'Blue Hat' thinking to draw on his unique crew to make fast astute decisions, that saves the future as we know it.

Picard provides us with a demonstration of the power of building on innate leadership traits with deliberate thinking skills. The Starship is a living, although some might say imaginary, example of the true Thinking Organisation, and the legendary Captain is the epitome of the Think-smart Leader, from whom we can learn much.

Lead Long and Prosper!

Copyright © W J (Bill) Jarrard

About the Author
Bill Jarrard

Bill Jarrard is mindwerx International's Managing Director and Chief Imagineer. He is also Co-Director of the Buzan Centre Australia. For almost 15 years Bill has consulted to all types of organisations in Strategic Thinking and Continuous Improvement and in 1999 published his first book Hidden Gold.

To find out more about Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats and Tony Buzan's Multiple Intelligence and Radiant Thinking, visit Bill can be contacted by email at

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