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Interview: How Paul Allen Leads With Strengths

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About the Leader

Paul Allen

Paul AllenFounder, and

  • Learner®
  • Input®
  • Ideation®
  • Intellection®
  • Strategic®

“When you can understand what makes a person tick and what lights them up, then team assignments, motivation, communication -- everything -- changes.”


"Use your Learner to deeply study every person on your team."

Allen learns as much as he can about his team members so he can put each person in the right position, on the right projects and with the right managers. Focusing on his teams means his Learner is aimed more at "what we can do" instead of just "what I can do."


"What I had for 22 years was a knowledge worker's dream."

As a habitual collector of information artifacts -- documents, journal entries, company profiles -- Allan archived large amounts of data using powerful knowledge management software, allowing him to search, access and connect his prized information.


"Don't be angry about losing something that really wasn't yours in the first place."

While he is a very successful entrepreneur, Allen has suffered serious financial setbacks at different points in his career. The setbacks taught him to lean into his faith and trust that a higher power influences the events that he cannot control.


"I hate to lose."

Whether it's an innocent game of chess or a multimillion-dollar business endeavor, Allen wants to win. He sees the ultimate competition as being about people: He wants to affect as many people as possible with his undertakings and uses this as the measure of his success.


"Strategic is a little dangerous for me."

Because he pairs Strategic with Ideation, Allen creates strategic plans that are highly changeable. He constantly looks for emerging technologies, alterations to the business landscape or unforeseen events that require changes to business strategies. He reexamines his strategies on a weekly basis.