How a possibility hunter thinks

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What makes Change Agent Worldwide members tick? Lois Kelly interviews Jonathan Anthony.

I’ve had a crush on Ben Franklin for a long time. I named a company after one of his experiments, (Thunder House), my office is in the former 1772 bookstore and printing press of one of his protégées, his Junto inspired my long-running book club.

Thinker, creator, writer, experimenter, activist, diplomat, conversationalist, risk taker, and passionate advocate of free speech. This guy wasn’t interested so much in what was, but what could be. He pushed thinking to the edge with an innate sense of wonder and curiosity. Most of all, he made things happen.

So when I met Jonathan Anthony, a fellow Change Agent Worldwide member, via video call, I thought, “Wow, he’s like a modern day Ben Franklin with a cool accent.” (Jonathan grew up in Britain.)

(Note: if you’re part of fascinating online social networks give yourself a treat and hop on a video call to really get to know interesting people. It’s like a runner’s high without the first mile of pain, and you’ll learn something surprising.) 

A voracious reader, learner, writer, and participant in diverse social networks inside and outside his company, Jonathan sees emerging patterns early on, “translates” what these might mean to business, and then pulls his company to the edge of that big trend. He shows people what’s possible before that possibility has entered the zeitgeist.

Jonathan is a possibility hunter.

“I drive ideas to the edge, ideas that are way too big for the organization. I go big because the organization will always push back and make the thinking smaller,” he explains. “The edge is a renewal process for any organization. Ideas on the edge eventually becoming the center.”

He’s able to create that healthy creative tension because he’s good at reading people and his Spidey Senses help him understand how to navigate within the organization.

“As a corporate intrapreneur and change agent you can’t just be smart,” he says. “You have to have a feel for the organization – and map new ideas to the environment. Having thick skin, being OK with ‘no,’ and a healthy self-esteem also help.”

Jonathan has worked in Vancouver for Teekay Corporation for nine years. His title is director of corporate communications, though what he does goes far beyond that traditional title. He is strategist, activist, scientist, artist, imagineer.

Most of all he is a giver, generously offering ideas to people in our Change Agents Worldwide community, inviting his team to think bigger, and guiding  his company’s leaders out to the edge of possibility where the air is fresh and the views are both expansive and majestic.

Inside the mind of a possibility hunter

What were you like as a child?

Totally certain of myself, smart, fun, annoying, but interesting.

What are your most distinctive character strengths?

Ability to read people and situations.

What is your favorite word about work?

Act.

What is your least favorite word about work?

Process.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally about your work?

The power of networks.

What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally about work?

Process. Same old, same old.

What sound or noise at work do you love?

Hearing my team talking out loud about their work, and about what they’re hearing and learning on Yammer.

What sound or noise at work do you hate?

The phone ringing. It’s almost always a cold call from marketers.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Video artist.

You can connect with Jonathan @ThisMuchWeKnow and on his blog: This Much We Know. 

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