AmyK Hutchens | The Secrets Leaders Keep (Episode 510)

AmyK Hutchens | The Secrets Leaders Keep (Episode 510)

AmyK Hutchens (@AmyKHutchens), author of The Secrets Leaders Keep: Insightful Stories And Provocative Questions That Unlock The Hidden Secrets To Winning Big In Business And Life tells us how we can think more critically, solve our problems more quickly, build momentum, be more productive, and be more profitable faster.

The Cheat Sheet:

  • No matter how accomplished you think you are, developing critical thinking skills and learning to see the world with a fresh perspective will help you adapt to whatever new problems and changes lay ahead.
  • Inviting participants to create question-based agendas make professional meetings worth having (instead of wasting everyone’s time).
  • Learn how to spark engagement and garner buy-in from others for meaningful interactions.
  • What are the two most common fears leaders have?
  • Ask yourself these two questions that will shift your perspective every single time you have to make a decision.
  • And so much more…


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When you take on the role of a leader — whether in your business or personal life — a simple shift in thinking will produce radically different (and better) results.

AmyK Hutchens, author of The Secrets Leaders Keep: Insightful Stories And Provocative Questions That Unlock The Hidden Secrets To Winning Big In Business And Life and former executive of a billion-dollar global consumer products company joins us on episode 510 of The Art of Charm to tell us how we can ignite brilliance in our thinking to more efficiently tackle life’s problems for better results.

More About This Show

AmyK Hutchens, author of The Secrets Leaders Keep: Insightful Stories And Provocative Questions That Unlock The Hidden Secrets To Winning Big In Business And Life, was once an executive at a billion-dollar global consumer products company. She’ll happily tell you what that company was if you ask, but the reason why she doesn’t lead with this information is to avoid being labeled for whatever conclusions one might draw from it. The point is, it’s not important. She’s a business strategist first and foremost; the product is just a formality.

“What I do is I remove that assumption filter,” says AmyK, “which allows people to find me far more approachable before they label me…we’re lazy; it’s really easy to fall back on the assumption than it is to do the heavy lifting of critical thinking.”

Knowing this, it’s easy to understand why she focuses on the importance of developing critical thinking for anyone who wants to make a difference in whatever it is they do in life. Her angle is from the perspective of a leader, but it can apply to anyone.

“If everybody stopped thinking that creativity is something that you’re born with,” says AmyK, “and people started realizing that creativity is a skill and it’s all about problem solving and everybody can be a better problem solver, then every single person can be more creative and innovative if [they] just start to ask better questions, think about things differently, get a fresh perspective, and change some of the things that hold [them] back.”

Here are just a couple of AmyK’s tips to, in her vernacular, “ignite brilliance.”

One Tool for Running a More Professional Meeting

We all know what it’s like to attend a boring, unproductive meeting where most of the attendees watch the clock and can’t wait for it to be over. But consider what it would be like if everyone in the room were focused and engaged with their attention invested on the level of an owner.

“Meetings can and should be stimulating and energizing — not draining and de-motivating,” says AmyK. “One of the most fundamental things you can do is trigger the brain with questions.”

In a typically ineffectual meeting, we’re greeted with either no agenda, or an agenda of statements of what will be covered. Instead, what AmyK suggests is to begin a meeting with an overarching question. Examples: How might we increase sales by 12 percent? What can we do to make this a more efficient process?

As the answers begin coming in, we open up the meeting further by asking what questions the attendees would add to the agenda. This creates a shared, question-based agenda with engaged buy-in by all participants. Everyone feels invested in the meeting on an ownership level.

Spark Engagement and Garner Buy-In

Sometimes other people on a conference call aren’t as excited about what you’re trying to accomplish as you are. In the middle of explaining something you consider crucial, you can hear someone else on the call cooking dinner. Or playing video games. Or watching a sitcom. How do you win them over to the conversation you’re having on a level that makes that conversation as important to them as it is to you? AmyK utilizes a conversation framework called Aligning Brilliance. This tool fosters better buy-in and engagement by asking these six questions:

  1. What are our strengths?
  2. What’s working?
  3. What do we want?
  4. What are our concerns?
  5. What are we going to get when we get what we want?
  6. What tweaks can we make to do things more efficiently and effectively?

This can apply to any interaction — whether it’s related to sales, marketing, accounting, or spousal relations!

Listen to this episode of The Art of Charm in its entirety to learn how to create guardrails ahead of conversations to avoid hijacked agendas, how we win people over by coaxing out — and selling them on — their own good ideas, how to solve problems without getting anybody in trouble, how leaders can avoid being lonely at the top, why we feel frustration and jealousy when a friend shares his good fortune, and a treasure trove more.


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