The Thinkers Club

By | July 18, 2019

[July 18, 2019] Great leaders think about the future and imagine great possibilities. Their job is to envision something exciting and even ennobling. In this way, they get buy-in for their ideas and enthusiasm for the way to get there. Several years ago at a company called Juniper Networks, a senior staff member created a group called the “Thinkers Club” to imagine the future.

“One day [the Thinker’s Club] will be a hub for innovative thinking, where people brainstorm on some of the most difficult issues and seek innovative solutions, and the go-to place where creative solutions emerge.” – Vittal Krishnamurthy, Juniper Networks, 2010

Krishnamurthy realized that however, noble leader aspirations are to make people’s lives better, visions seen only by leaders themselves are insufficient to create an enduring movement.1 He realized that to enlist others in a common vision; he had to appeal to shared aspirations. This challenge and their success are what made the group a key part of Juniper.

Likewise, I see hundreds of Boy Scouts going about their daily lives here at Scout Camp, and when I speak to them, they are honest and surprisingly straightforward about their aspirations. The camp’s leadership has been able to tap into this and make the whole environment inviting to all, fun, challenging, and safe. It takes a special talent to bring so many boys and adult leaders together to make this happen successfully. My hat is off to them for it.

Young boys don’t naturally come with a commitment to much of anything. That is why leaders understand that you can’t command commitment; you do have to inspire it. Boys (actually all people) have to believe that you understand their needs and have their interests at heart. You have to have clear goals and a vision to make a positive difference. That is why I like Boy Scout Camp and the folks that are here.

The day-to-day challenge of leadership can result in greatness, but only if we surpass the individual. No person, on their own, can achieve great things by themselves. Even those that discovered some of the greatest of humankind’s knowledge understood that only by enlisting others could that discovery become a reality.

Vittal Krishnamurthy created greatness through his Thinker’s Club. And that is the epitome of leadership.


  1. The Leadership Challenge, Fifth Edition, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, 2012.
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

19 thoughts on “The Thinkers Club

    1. Max Foster

      Thanks Otto. In the recent past and one of the theme’s of Gen. Satterfield’s blog is the idea of being positive. This includes picking friends and coworkers who are positive in their outlook and disposition. When we can chose, then chose to be around positive people; at least those who are able to help make you a better, more appreciated person. This effects our likability and willingness of others to assist us in our life’s journey.

      1. Roger Yellowmule

        Well said, Max. As usual, you have helped us focus on the main lesson of today.

  1. Anita S.

    Keep up the great works, Gen. Satterfield. I’m really enjoying this week’s articles.

  2. Scotty Bush

    Good luck with your scout camp this week. We are looking forward to more info on the lessons learned. I’m sure there have been a number of humorous episodes.

    1. Greg Heyman

      I’m with you Scotty. We all are waiting for me info on those things the scouts have learned.

      1. Georgie B.

        No rush, we all know you’re in the middle of camping out and to just post an article must be hard. Thanks if you can get to it soon.

      1. Willie Shrumburger

        Yes, and I’m also sure his description of the leadership issues at scout camp will be both entertaining and wonderful to read. I liked Boy Scouts as a very young boy and have kept those lessons throughout my adulthood and that has made my life both more satisfying and easier.

  3. Jake Tapper, Jr.

    Loved today’s blog article on a “club” that is specialized enough to help the org be better. Thank you for the idea.

  4. Dennis Mathes

    Another great article on a relevant topic. The idea of a ‘thinker’s club’ or some equivalent is an excellent idea. Of course, you need to have the staff enough in numbers to do it, otherwise you’re it.

    1. Bryan Lee

      Right, a small business or family might not have enough to really make this work well; nor will it as likely to be needed.

    1. Wilson Cox

      More than interesting, …. I think a very practical idea too.

      1. Darryl Sitterly

        Practical being operative term. But also easy to learn and remember are also keys to making this work.


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