In Strategy

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” – Henry Ford

We live and work in an environment where we are rewarded for getting things done. Crossing things off a list seems like it’s become our sole purpose in life. We even write things we’ve already done on our to-do lists just so we can feel good about marking them complete.

Unfortunately, one of the things that doesn’t ever seem to get written on our to-do lists as leaders is thinking. How often do you take time to just sit and think? For a lot of people, it just doesn’t happen. And when it does happen, some people feel guilty about it because they “wasted time not doing anything”.

The reality is that thinking is one of our biggest responsibilities as leaders. Show me a leader that doesn’t regularly take time to think and I’ll show you a leader that isn’t doing a very good job. Here’s a few random thoughts about thinking:

  1. Think about your key people. Do you know how best to communicate with each of them? Do you know what each of them values about their job? Do you know what each person needs in order to feel valued? If you can answer those questions, think about what that means to you as the leader. Are you doing everything you can to make sure your people succeed?
  2. Think about the future of your organization. What do you want it to look like in 12 months? A couple of years? Don’t just say, “the same, but better”. What does “better” look like exactly? Profit? Growth? What? If you can understand that future, you’ll have a lot clearer picture of what’s really important.
  3. Think about your role. What’s the most valuable thing you do for your organization? How can you do more of it? What’s the least valuable thing you do for your organization? How can you stop doing it? What’s the most valuable thing you should be doing, but aren’t? What barriers are in the way? How can you remove them? It’s important that not only your people are in a role that maximizes their abilities – you need to be there too.

Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of constant action. We have too many things coming at us on a daily basis to not take time to stop & think. Sure, it’s hard – but it’s one of the most important things you can do. Good luck.

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