Become a Mixmaster and Get Big Things Done!


Erica Dhawan, author of Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence, is a great friend of mine.  She is a member of our 100 Coaches organization, has an undergraduate degree from Wharton, a masters from Harvard & MIT, and she’s written a wonderful book called, Get Big Things Done.

I’m so excited to start the year with this interview with Erica, because of her brilliant focus on connectional intelligence to get big things done. Founder & CEO of Cotential and named by Thinkers50 as “The Oprah of Management Ideas”, Erica is featured as one of the emerging management thinkers most likely to shape the future of business.

In this week’s interview, Erica describes a “mixmaster” and shares with us the benefits we all reap from talented mixmasters!

If you want to learn more about Getting Big Things Done from Erica, take her free Connection Intelligence Quiz. And check out her new online course on Udemy, Get Big Things Done: Become a Standout Collaborator!

Marshall: Erica, one thing I love that you teach is the concept called a mixmaster. What do you mean by mixmaster and how can it help us get big things done?

Erica: Great question Marshall! What makes a person a mixmaster is that they are someone who is very skilled at combining different ideas together to come up with an entirely new concept or idea. You’re a great mixmaster Marshall!

We have so many different innovations in today’s world, but what we’ve seen is that innovation often comes from leveraging existing resources in new and different ways.

One of my favorite examples of this is a surfer named Ben Thompson. Ben loves riding waves, and one of the things that bothered him was that there is so much sludge in the water. And, he’s not just a surfer, he’s also an engineer. So, what Ben did is he put these two loves together, surfing and engineering and created a sensor called the SmartFin. The SmartFin tracks the salinity, acidity and temperature of water under the surfboard, while surfers are surfing the waves.

Today this data is being used by climate change researchers to allow them to collect data they couldn’t have collected before, because normally sensors would corrode in the water after some time and be rendered useless.

Ben is a quintessential mixmaster. He took his skillsets as a surfer, as an engineer, and brought them together not only to help himself, but to think about other networks and communities he could contribute to and created a solution that benefits those communities.

It all starts with asking ourselves what are a few things that we love to do. Then, how can we combine those things to not only contribute to ourselves, but to others in our community, and then what would be a next immediate step and instantly we become mixmasters!

*     *     *

To get you started on getting big things done in 2019, take Erica’s free Connection Intelligence Quiz. Next check out Erica’s new online course on Udemy, Get Big Things Done: Become a Standout Collaborator. Use code BIG2019.


Work is Love Made Visible, my newest book (with lead editor Frances Hesselbein and Sarah McArthur), was just published on October 23rd. I hope that you like it!