Friday, December 28, 2007

How to Think Strategically

The last few days have been quiet and slow. Many less calls, emails, meetings etc.

At first, I was frustrated and feeling my efficiency was lower. What triggered me to notice this low efficiency was waiting for 3 minutes at the microwave for my lunch to warm. Normally I would have been emailing on my Blackberry or talking on the phone but I was just watching the microwave.

I was even going to post that having less things on can lead to lower efficiency. I was going to give some of my tips on how you can create a list of lower priority tasks, set goals to get through things, etc. even when there are not external pressures. And of course I was charged up to lead by example and get lots "done".

Then I started to notice I was thinking more strategically. I was thinking "Bigger Picture/Longer Term". The creative ideas were flowing.

There can be power in not always "doing". And I think my normal busy nature might be impeding my creativity.

The challenge I normally have in being creative is I cannot just sit down and say "for the next hour I will be creative". I normally have to set myself with the challenge or problem I want to solve (asking the right question is the most important part). I normally surround myself with lots of reading, data, background, research etc. to inspire thought.

Perhaps stillness also works.

I wish all my readers a great and safe New Year!


At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy New year to you too Jim!! Thanks for another year of great posts!

At 10:34 AM, Blogger Stuart R. Crawford said...

Hi Jim, this is a challenge many of us in the "highly productive" world face. I have wrestled with this in the past few years, almost to the point where I really started not to like the holiday break because the lack of inbound stuff.

As I matured in my business, I have realized that this is an awesome time to get those low priority items done..write that eBook or white paper..because I still need to keep the mind going!

So I used the downtime to launch my new business for business distractions or phone was awesome...

Happy New Year to you and thank you for being an awesome friend and colleague...

Stuart Crawford
Calgary, Alberta

At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a reason that the Bible puts "don't work all the time" up there with "don't kill other people" and "don’t take what's not yours." Creative thinking happens in a very specific configuration for most people most of the time.

You're most likely to get good ideas while you're doing something physical that does not require thought, such as washing dishes, driving, taking a shower, etc. You will do better if you're relaxed.

If you want to make good of the ideas you get, you have to capture them. Otherwise they are gone like butterflies on the wind. Later you can do the manufacturing work of innovation, modifying and combining your ideas into something helpful.

At 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, The first part of your post made me sigh and think, "another one," but then you turned and noticed that your thoughts were becoming more creative. Whoohoo! You just gave yourself the best Christmas present possible.

I've written before on the value of silence in MAPpingCompanySuccess and Leadership Turn, but I think I'll use your post as an excuse to say it yet again.

I truly hope that the lightbulb goes on for all who read this!

At 1:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jim,

I agree 100% with wallys comment.

Have a great new year.


At 10:41 AM, Blogger H. Peter Schiller said...

There is something called the Zeigarnick Effect that helps explain your conundrum. The Zeigarnick Effect states that once you've truly made a decision on something, our active memory on the issue shuts down and all creative thinking regarding the matter stops. Therefore, we need to be balanced in our decision making. If we decide too soon, we will not have allowed enough time for creativity. If we wait too long to decide, we will never get anything done.


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