Are Introverted Strategists Born or Made?

It has been reported that talent is the rate at which a new skill is learned.

In this context, one has to have the essential components necessary for a skill to be developed at a high level to be considered talented.

And there must be observable and objective evidence demonstrating skill mastery.

Basketball great Michael Jordan grew to be 6’6″, had huge hands, and excellent hand-eye coordination. It wasn’t a surprise when he excelled in the NBA based on these innate advantages.

Jordan’s physicality and skills exceeded the expectations and standards established by the NBA.

But what about basketball star Spud Webb?

Spud Webb, who at 5’6″ was one of the shortest players in the history of professional basketball, won the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, beating his Atlanta Hawks teammate, the 6’8″ Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins.

So, what explains Webb’s ability to beat players 14 inches taller when height is an advantage in the NBA? Particularly in a slam dunk contest.

The short answer is that Webb had the intellectual and physical mechanics to master the skills necessary to compete at a high level despite his height.

Even if he could jump high enough to dunk a basketball, he still needed the all-around skills necessary to compete at an elite level.

As an aside, the fact that Webb could do the seemingly impossible gave him a psychological advantage over taller players.

Indeed, he could be dismissed as a fluke and underestimated. The element of surprise worked in his favor.

Ultimately, Spud Webb was not born the archetype for professional basketball; he was made.

Webb was an anomaly because the standard for basketball players favored Jordan and Wilkins.

A similar comparison can be made with introverted strategists.

INTJ, ISTJ, and INTP personality types represent the archetype for critical thinkers, pattern seekers, and problem solvers.

These personality types are commonly referred to as strategists.

Because western culture is steeped in logic and reason, personality types that align with academic aptitude are inclined to accelerate faster than personality types less prone to intellectual prowess.

Using our basketball analogy, INTJ, ISTJ, and INTP personality types are reminiscent of Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins based on the standards established by colleges and corporations.

Consequently, INTJ, ISTJ, and INTP personality types are most likely to master strategic thinking and planning skills faster than other personality types.

Again, it is vital to assign this line of thinking within the confines of western culture, which is the dominant culture in current society.

If another cultural construct took hold oppositional to logic and reason, that cultural construct would be dominant, and INTJs, ISTJs, and INTPs would be disadvantaged.

If introverted strategists prevailed under a new construct, they would be outliers.

Furthermore, more than being a raw intellect is required to guarantee skill mastery.

Introverted strategists may be born with attributes that encourage strategic thinking, but they wouldn’t manifest mastery unless they cultivated these skills through extensive reading, writing, and reflection.

The advantages of being an introverted strategist

In the coming years, global competition in the workforce will become even more intense.

Escalating college tuition costs suggest that mainly well-to-do individuals will be able to attend universities.

And unless there is a direct pathway to a lucrative career after graduation, a college education may be nice to have rather than a need to have.

Whether college-educated, a tradesperson, or an autodidact, strategic thinking will be a crucial skill that competitive introverts will need to flourish in their career.

Introverted strategists will be at an advantage because they possess the necessary skills to:

  • Spot trends in the marketplace that they can exploit.
  • Develop products and services to serve unmet needs.
  • Create new ways of addressing old problems.
  • Transform industries through innovation.
  • Think two and three steps ahead of the competition.

All of these skills can be learned and mastered.


Although advanced technology and extensive information empower average individuals to lead in ways never seen before, introverted strategists will continue to have an advantage over their counterparts.

Their ability to maneuver under the radar with highly evolved aptitude allows them to overtake competition who never see them coming.

Introverted strategists may be born with potential, but their inner grit and determination allow them to become masters of their universe.

And this is not a fluke; it is strategic.

—Richard Olson


Werle, L. (2022, July 13). When 5’6″ rookie Spud Webb won the 1986 NBA Dunk Contest. Open Court. Retrieved from:

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