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If Strategy Is So Important, Why Don’t We Make Time for It?
Most leaders want to make more time for strategic thinking, but how many take the necessary steps to prioritize that important task? One obstacle is the cultural pressure to put in long hours. Tethering one's self to a desk may help you power through more emails and be seen as a busy leader, but it's rarely a recipe for innovative, strategic thinking. What appears to really enable creative thinking, notes a recent Stanford University study, are activities such as taking a short walk. Another barrier to strategic thinking may be that fact that, in the United States at least, research shows that being busy is a sign of social status. Silvia Bellezza of Columbia Business School says, "By telling others we are busy and working all the time, we are implicitly suggesting that we are sought after."
 
The article's author discusses three ways leaders can create the “white space” they need to engage in strategic thinking. First, understand that it doesn't necessarily require large amounts of time. It's not about taking long sabbaticals or going on leadership retreats. For the most part, decision-makers don't need time to have a good idea. They need space. It takes literally no time to have an innovative idea or make a decision when you have the “psychic space” to do so, the author says. When you don’t, it can take longer. Second, be clear on where your time is actually going. Realize there are tasks that could be combined, deferred, or even outsourced to help buy at least an extra two or more hours per week. Finally, the sooner a leader becomes aware of the implicit "busy = important" frame in our culture, the easier it will be to let go of it and adopt another frame that's more conducive to deep, strategic thinking.
Harvard Business Review (06/21/18) Clark, Dorie
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JULY/AUGUST 2018 EDITION
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