[LINK] Time to Think
brd at iimetro.com.au
Fri Sep 11 16:16:48 AEST 2009
It's Friday afternoon , so a bit of reflection might be in order.
It seems to me that it's not amount of information and the speed you get
it that matters, it's the time you spend thinking about it that is
Tweeting, SMS and technologies like Gov 2.0 may be fun, but I'm
wondering about their usefulness.
Maybe I'll think about it over the weekend.
Time to Think
Published, June 30, 2009
Department of the [USA] Navy
I recently attended the Current Strategy Forum hosted by the Naval War
College in Newport, RI. The Secretary of the Navy, Chief of Naval
Operations and Commandant of the Marine Corps all spoke along with many
prominent scholars and authors. The discussion was about maritime
strategy and its intersection with both national security and the world
economy. I am always in awe when I am in the presence of such
magnificent leaders. It truly is the time to sit, listen and learn.
During this conference, CNO Adm. Gary Roughead said senior leaders
should take the time to think -- really think. Leaders are charged with
developing strategies to solve issues on a large scale, he said, and
need time to process information and weigh all available options. I was
struck by this as I have heard former CNOs Vernon Clark and Michael
Mullen make similar statements.
I have strongly advocated to my staff taking time to think. And it
dawned on me, how much time during my normal week do I spend thinking
about the future and how best to shape the Department's path to becoming
more connected and more effective in delivering information? As I am
thinking and strategizing about the future, what information do I need
to inform my thoughts and decisions? And how do I normally access the
information I need to make decisions and to strategize?
Then I thought about one of my first bosses in the Department. He
believed that you had to be at your desk "doing something" in order to
be productive. Imagine smoke coming from my pencil point as I feverishly
worked some problem. Had I been sitting there thinking about next steps
for my project, he might have seen me as daydreaming or goofing off. I
imagine that had the Internet been widely available at that time, he
would have viewed searching for information as unproductive web surfing.
But walking the corridors of the tech library -- an inefficient exercise
to say the least -- would not have been in his opinion.
Some experts say that managers should spend 30 percent to 40 percent and
senior executives upwards of 60 percent to 70 percent of their time
thinking through strategies. In fact, the more senior one becomes, the
more important strategic thinking becomes.
I am constantly reminded by my staff just how busy my schedule is. But I
did pause to reflect on how much time I spend thinking, and suffice it
to say, it is not as much as I should.
The arrival of the Information Age has accelerated our ability to access
information via the Internet and other digital resources, process it and
take appropriate actions faster and more effectively than ever before.
In fact, information overload is a real issue today that did not exist
in the 1970s, 1980s and even the 1990s. The paradox of spending time
thinking while considering vastly more information sometimes boggles the
mind. As IT leaders in the Department, our value is founded in our
ability to spend the right amount of time thinking and then putting
strategies in motion to execute and ensure that mission outcomes are
So, are we spending too much time answering email and attending
meetings? And does thinking get worked in to your day-to-day schedule?
What do you think?
brd at iimetro.com.au
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