Scout vs Soldier

In a Julia Galef TED talk from 2016, she put forward a great analogy when talking about people: the ones that have a Scout mindset and those that have a Soldier mindset.

The premise of her idea is:

  • Scout: people who are always open to new information, trying to gather as much perspective as possible whilst putting themselves in all possible vantage points. Scouts tend to be good listeners and inquisitive.
  • Soldier: regardless of which side the person is on, he will go with whatever the flow is. Always charge forward regardless of the perils or of the arguments against the charge. Soldiers are honest and straight-forward thinkers.

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Now I think that there might be different added dimension to Galef’s idea: for example, one might decide to have a Scout mindset on certain situations and a Solder mindset in others. Being a Scout is not always constructive, it might simply keep you stalled whilst continuously trying to gather more information. In some situations, and certainly for start-ups, having a Soldier mindset might be the overall way to move forward. Because that mindset is what is going to create the drive, the passion and the energy to move forward, whatever the obstacles are.

I think the analogy is interesting and managers should strive to be able to morph themselves into each mindset depending on the situation they are in and the characteristics of it.

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