Friday, March 25, 2011

Thought Time

“I wish I had more time to think about my business. I’m so involved in running this place, it’s hard to find time to deeply consider where we're going.”  If this sounds at all too familiar, you're not alone. 

For the senior executive, there never seems to be enough time.

Business is a contact sport and without action (execution) nothing happens. But opportunities can be missed when you don’t deliberately put aside personal time to think about your business.

The Wall Street Journal ran an article a few years back about Bill Gates describing how he deliberately carved out two weeks each year for this singular purpose. These “Think Weeks” involved seven days of self-imposed seclusion to “ponder the future of technology and then propagate those thoughts across the Microsoft empire.” He devoured journals, papers and most importantly, the many ideas submitted by Microsoft employees. 

This was no vacation.  He worked up to 18 hours each day. “By the week’s end Mr. Gates would read 100 papers, send e-mails to hundreds of people and write a Think Week summary for executives.” The results were impressive.  One Think Week led Microsoft to develop its Internet browser which sealed Netscape’s doom. 

Consider setting aside some dedicated personal time to think about your business’ challenges and opportunities from both your perspective and those of your employees. It will likely pay dividends.

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