Heads Down VS. Heads Up by Josh Linkner

We’ve all heard people in the business world proclaim that they are “heads down” on a project. Or that they are unable to explore new opportunities since they are “heads down in execution mode.”

Consider, for a moment, the advantages of being “heads up” instead. Let’s compare the two states of being:

Heads Down

  • Focused on delivery
  • Tuning out distractions
  • Avoiding influence from your surroundings
  • Execution
  • Getting things done
  • Right now
  • What is
  • Deadlines

Heads Up

  • Focused on possibilities
  • Embracing new things
  • Welcoming outside influence
  • Curiosity and awareness
  • Questioning everything
  • The future
  • What could be
  • Imagination

There is a time and place for both approaches. When you are working to ship a new product out the door, it’s heads-down all the way. The problem is that so much of the business world languishes in that heads-down state of mind, making it increasingly difficult to shift to heads-up position. Yet it is the heads up time where we discover new ideas, gain fresh insights, and unleash our most powerful breakthroughs.

What if you scheduled just one hour each week to be heads up? Give it a trial run for 30 days if you’re skeptical. While it may feel frivolous at first, you’ll likely look back at your hourly refuge as the most productive part of your week.

The urgency of heads-down demands usually supersedes the longer-term importance of being heads-up, so many people rarely visit this vantage point. As you work to expand your creative capacity, make sure to proactively schedule some heads-up time for yourself and your team, and hold each other accountable not only for grammatical errors on a memo but, more importantly, for being heads-up and unleashing your imagination and creativity.

Heads up is where history is made. Make yours.


About Josh Linkner:

Josh Linkner – who started his career as a jazz guitarist – personifies creativity, entrepreneurship and disruptive innovation.  He has been the founder and CEO of four tech companies, which sold for a combined value of over $200 million. Josh is the author of two New York Times Bestsellers: Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity, and The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation.


To Learn more about Josh contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866 727-7555 or [email protected]

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