Are you faced with frequent, large or unique problems when running your business?

Developing the 16 Habits of Mind, by Arthur L. Costa could help.

Briefly described, the 16 Habits of Mind are sixteen positive characteristics or dispositions that successful people demonstrate when solving problems.

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you are daily faced with the challenges of solving unique, never-seen-before and often unforeseen problems.  The following 16 habits can help you be a more effective manager, risk-taker, communicator, organizer, prioritizer and most importantly, problem solver.

Arthur L. Costa, the co-author of the core principles of The 16 Habits of Mind explains, “The 16 Habits of Mind are the characteristics of what intelligent people do when they are confronted with problems, the resolutions to which are not immediately apparent.”

Don’t confuse these habits with Steven R. Covey’s 1989 universal and timeless book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Covey’s habits focus on being effective in attaining goals through self-mastery and interdependence.  While the authors of the 16 Habits of Mind, present distinctly different habits, focusing on the process intelligent people take when solving a problem.

Currently, the 16 Habits of Mind is a methodology trending among educators and child development experts.  These tools are being used by teachers to help students develop and refine analytical thinking processes.  Your child’s school or teacher may be teaching these habits in the classroom to your child and you may not even know it!  These habits are not only essential for school children but also congruent with small business owners and entrepreneurs. As business owners, we all experience daily problem-solving challenges, ones that have much higher stakes than those of a student.

Let’s bring these habits out of the classroom and introduce them to the small business owner!

Here are the 16 Habits

1. Persistence

2. Managing Impulsivity

3. Listening with understanding and empathy

4. Thinking flexibly  – look at it another way!

5. Thinking about your thinking (Metacognition)

6. Striving for accuracy

7. Questioning and problem posing

8. Applying past knowledge to new situations

9 Thinking & communicating with clarity and precision

10. Gather data through all senses

11. Creating imagining, and innovating (Try a different way!)

12. Responding with wonderment and awe (Have fun!)

13. Taking responsible risks

14. Finding humor

15. Thinking interdependently

16. Remaining open to continuous learning

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This is a new way to think and approach difficulties that come your way.  Take time to get to know each of the 16 habits. Here is a useful reference chart from The Institute for Habits of Mind.


Dig Deeper:
Read the book, Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind 16 Foundational Characteristics for Success.

51ON4ThL8ZL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_“The Habits of Mind are an identified set of 16 problem solving, life-related skills, necessary to effectively operate in society and promote strategic reasoning, insightfulness, perseverance, creativity, and craftsmanship.” as defined by the authors of this learning model, Arthur L. Costa, and Bena Kallick.

Free resources:

Article – What is Habits of Mind?

Chart – 16 Habits of Mind Chart

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