Thursday, April 9, 2009

Don't forget to think!

Deadlines, milestones, actions, sense of urgency, delivery, execution: this is the language of the business environment I work in. We have a strong bias towards action and towards delivery of results. I don't think this is unique to my company. I have seen very many job adverts looking for "results orientated" people with "a track record of delivery". I have yet to see one that says "we are looking for someone who will get off the corporate treadmill once a week and do some thinking".

Of course we all make time for thinking and reflection but how often do we do this in work time? "Reflect on your own time, you're here to deliver!" And if we do, are there the same rewards and recognition for reflection as there are for action? I doubt it, at least not in most companies, and especially not in times of crisis. Why is this a problem? My observation is that when there is no space for thinking the result is content-free meetings with meaningless milestones and asinine action points.

So this is a plea to everyone for whom this sounds familiar: don't forget to think!

If you need food for thought, then here's a random list of things that you might like to use reflect upon:

  • More than half the world's population now pay to use a mobile 'phone. Developing countries account for two-thirds of the mobile 'phones in use. What does this mean for your business?
  • The average american consumer is hit by 3000 (some say as much as 8000) marketing message per day. What does this mean for your marketing? How are you going to reach people when you are 1 in 3000?
  • How would you destroy your business?
  • The cost of a heart bypass operation in US is around $100,000, in Europe it is $50,000, in Thailand it is $4800 - the quality of care is the same. What does this mean?
  • It took 2 years for Encarta to destroy a 225 year track record of success of Encyclopedia Britannica. It took 8 years for Wikipedia to do the same to Encarta. What can we learn from this?
  • If chocolate is not addictive why do I like it so much?

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