The Hardest Work for Leaders Strategic Traction

The Hardest Work for Leaders

The Hardest Work for Leaders Strategic Traction

Copyright: miro3d / 123RF Stock Photo

The Hardest Work for Leaders

I’ve worked with hundreds of leaders and as amazing as they are, I’ve noticed that less than 5% of them take dedicated think time. According to Henry Ford,

“Thinking is the hardest work there is
and that’s probably the reason so few engage in it.”

So why is this? Why do we struggle with this? Watch the video below or continue reading to learn more.

I think it all stems from, as entrepreneurial leaders, we have to be good at doing at the beginning. We have to become masters of execution or the company simply doesn’t survive. But at some point, to take our company to the next level we have to grow, we have to evolve. And so we have to transition from doing into thinking.

So I challenge you to rise up and become the leader your organization deserves.

Because if we spend all of our time in the weeds doing, we can’t see where we’re going and we could be going nowhere fast, or even worse we could end up somewhere we have no intention or want to go there.

Benefits of Think Time

Let me talk to you about the benefits of when you take think time regularly.

  1. Strategic versus Tactical
    From a company standpoint, when we take time to think, we’re going to be way more strategic as a company versus tactical. We’re gonna chart our course to ensure actions and tactics are going to get us to the right place.
  2. Communicate Our Vision
    Taking think time will enable us to connect with and communicate our vision with more confidence and clarity so we can lead effectively.
  3. Calm, Passionate Leader
    From a personal standpoint, spending this time will allow us to show up more as that calm, passionate, focused leader versus the frantic stressed-out one.
  4. Creative, Big Picture
    By having time to think, we can be shift gears and be more creative, thinking and focused on that big picture. We can solve big problems, be innovative and push the boundaries.
  5. Connect to Our Purpose
    It’s also going to allow us to be better connected to our sense of purpose of why we’re getting up every day and doing the work we do. When we are connected to our purpose we show up as a more authentic leader, energized by our vision.
  6. Confidence & Clarity
    All this results in an increase in confidence and clarity so that we can show up better, be a better leader in both our business and our lives.
How do we do this?

What does it look like to tackle this difficult thinking work regularly?

  1. Alone
    It’s got to be alone. That’s a big scary word for me quite frankly. I love being around people. Being alone was scary for me at first but I’ve come to love it.
  2. No Interruptions
    Choose your space carefully. I tried it in my own office, that didn’t work for me, there were too many distractions.
  3. No Technology
    Unplug. Get rid of those dang phones. Put them on airplane mode and do not disturb.
  4. Schedule It
    Put it in your calendar. This is your job as leaders to spend time thinking. For me, I had to schedule it in my calendar to make sure it got done.
  5. Cadence
    How often do you need to do it?  It’s different for everybody. thinking you’re lacking in confidence or clarity you’re not doing them often enough.

Here’s what works for me. Every two weeks I take an hour in a coffee shop. Four times a year, quarterly, I take three hours on an airplane, headphones locked down and I don’t talk to anybody. And twice a year, I spend a full day away. I go to someplace fun, like Canmore, let the power of the mountains sink in and really think big picture.

So, what’s going to work for you? Take that first step. Schedule some time in your calendar for think time, with no distractions. Get the ball rolling then adjust as you go. If you want help, please reach out, I am more than happy to help.

Now, do the tough work, create some thinking time in your schedule, and become that leader your organization deserves.

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Comments 3

  1. Great post, Chris. I agree that most people neglect thinking time. It’s so important to me that I actually include it in my title, “Thinker, Writer, Speaker”. This is an article I would like to share on Linked In. Perhaps you could add social media share buttons to your blogs. It could really build your following.

    1. Thank you very much for the feedback Shelley, much appreciated. Glad you liked the article and we will be adding those features as soon as we can.

    2. Thank you, Shelly. Please feel free to share on LinkedIn.
      PS. The social share buttons should appear at the bottom of the article.

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