20 Ways to Achieve Street Smart Wisdom for Leaders and Entrepreneurs

Leaders need to be street-smart to stay ahead of the curve, make educated decisions and continue to be successful.

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By Jon Michail

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The capacity to swiftly apply sound judgment and creative ideas to challenging business problems is called "street-smart wisdom." For leaders to be competitive and adaptable in today's fast-paced, constantly changing business world, they must possess the appropriate street-smart wisdom. This is particularly important as the global economy grows more linked and the fast-changing nature of business continues to change due to technological advancements and globalization.

Leaders need to be street-smart to stay ahead of the curve, make educated decisions and continue to be successful. It may be broadly categorized into these four areas: strategic planning, effective communication, creative problem-solving and adaptive thinking.

The necessity of cultivating an open mindset and being able to adjust to changing circumstances and obstacles swiftly is highlighted by adaptive thinking. To succeed, leaders need to be able to think quickly on their feet and modify their plans as necessary. Adaptive thinking focuses on maintaining persistence and focus in the face of difficulty.

The need to think outside the paradigm and come up with unique solutions to challenging problems is emphasized under creative problem-solving. To create novel solutions, leaders need to be able to spot trends and think creatively. It underlines how important it is to be abreast of recent trends and advancements.

Lastly, strategic planning emphasizes the need for a well-thought-out strategy and the capacity to picture the desired outcome. Leaders must be able to foresee possible difficulties and be ready to modify their plans as necessary. This highlights the need to maintain organization and concentrate on long-term objectives.

However, 20 specific nuggets from these four areas have been isolated and summarized into the following actionable and simply understandable advice for ease of comprehension.

Related: Why Applying Constant Pressure on Yourself Can Significantly Improve Your Productivity and Success

1. Access your street smarts

It is more important than being book-smart. Develop your emotional intelligence (EQ) at your earliest opportunity. Doing this allows you to develop practical knowledge and skills through experience rather than focusing solely on gaining knowledge through formal education and theory. Also, by developing your emotional intelligence, you can recognize, understand, and manage your emotions and that of others.

Related: Emotional Intelligence is the Secret to Leadership in Times of Crisis

2. Being politically savvy is not the same as being a political animal

Learn that there is a difference between understanding politics or being skilled in navigating the political landscape AND having a strong interest in politics, and being deeply involved in political issues.

3. The official narrative is not always the same as the "unofficial" narrative in practice

The officially accepted and promoted version of events may not always reflect what actually occurs in reality. The "unofficial narrative in practice" may be a real-life event at odds with the official narrative promoted.

Related: How The Virtual World Affects Our Real Life

4. Innovation and creativity are core essentials if you want to be successful.

Be wary of saboteurs trying to sabotage or disrupt your progress.

5. Chutzpah is essential.

It's your human right. Having confidence and a sense of self-worth is fundamental to being human. Always have the courage to pursue your goals and be proud of yourself.

6. Connections are everything.

The importance of networking, maintaining relationships and developing strong social connections can never be overstated. Having connections is essential for success, whether it's in business, personal or any other area of life. You should also have supportive and strong relationships with people who can be beneficial to achieving your goals.

Related: 7 Reasons Why Critical Decisions Require In Person Connection

7. Authenticity works.

Be the real you. It pays to be honest with yourself and with others. Always be your true self and do not hide behind a mask of false pretenses. Authenticity is a valuable trait, be genuine to who you are.

8. A gentle reminder that emotional Intelligence opens your heart, so cultivate it.

Emotional intelligence is a skill that can be developed and honed over time. Be mindful of your emotions and how you are feeling, and be open to understanding the emotions of others. You can open your heart to greater understanding and compassion by cultivating emotional intelligence.

9. Age-old wisdom always trumps new-age populism.

This means traditional "living a good life" types of wisdom and knowledge are more valuable than modern or trendy social media opinions. Even though something may be popular or fashionable, there may be better and more reliable options.

10. Expand your bubble beyond your natural comfort zone.

Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Explore new ideas and experiences and think outside of your usual boundaries.

Related: Why You Need to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

11. Recognize personalities early.

The toxic triad of narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy are some characters you'll meet in your career and life. Understanding personalities can provide insight into who someone is and increase the understanding of personality traits and the best way to handle them to protect yourself.

12. Always walk tall; body language matters.

Your body language communicates your attitudes and emotions. The right body language can be just as important as words.

Related: How to Tell If Someone Is Manipulating You Based on Their Body Language

13. Always have a plan even when you don't have one.

It's always better to be prepared for what may happen rather than.

14. Show your vulnerability when appropriate.

It is authentic to be open and honest about one's weaknesses or insecurities when necessary (no oversharing) and not just to manipulate public opinion or gain attention.

15. Minimize your reputational risks, as it's your future insurance policy.

Protecting and maintaining your reputation is a form of insurance for the future. How? A good reputation can help you gain opportunities and trust from others, which can help you leverage a successful career.

16. Listen to your gut; it's very effective when one is well-balanced.

Trust your intuition and feelings and balance them by being level-headed and rational. Being well-balanced means thinking critically and finding a balance between what your heart tells you and what your mind tells you. Listening to your gut or intuition can be a very effective way to make better decisions.

17. Have inner confidence.

Your ongoing personal growth is essential. Continue to grow and have confidence in yourself and your ability to learn new things that develop you as an individual. Personal growth and development are necessary to reach your full potential.

18. Become an auto-didact.

School can only give you so much — the rest is up to you to discover. Although formal education is important, it is only one way to learn. Take the initiative to learn more on your own and become an independent learner (an auto-didact). Explore and discover things on your own, beyond what is taught in school or the official narrative.

Related: 6 Little-Known Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

19. Never take crap from a bully.

Never allow someone to take advantage of you or treat you unfairly or disrespectfully. Be strong and stand up for yourself, especially when faced with bullying.

20. Get mentored.

The top of the mountain is lonely. It is beneficial to seek a mentor, as it can be difficult to reach the top without guidance or help. Having someone guide you on your journey to success can make climbing much easier.

This compilation of street-smart wisdom is invaluable for any leader and entrepreneur looking to acquire the necessary wisdom and strategies to remain successful in the ever-changing business environment. By studying, internalizing and actioning these strategies, leaders can stack the odds in their favor and stay ahead of the curve, make informed decisions and reach new possibilities.

Jon Michail

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Founder and Group CEO of Image Group International

Jon Michail is the CEO and founder of Image Group International, an Australia-based corporate and personal-brand image advisory and coaching organization that conducts transformational seminars, workshops and one-on-one coaching in over four continents.

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