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Sunday, 17 July 2011

No Time to Think? Go Into Retreat!

One of the most important factors in the life of the leader is simply thinking about his/her organisation.   Easily said but how often do we actually take time out to reflect on the business and our part in it?
One of the more significant parts of the Vistage experience is the annual "retreat" for the whole group where we go away to a pleasant venue and spend time together.   Some groups in the UK have been overseas and my group had a memorable (for many reasons) retreat in a castle in Scotland which was next door (about four miles away in fact) to the legendary Castle of Dunsinane.
My group, once a year, generally takes a two day “time out” in a pleasant hotel venue to spend time together and to work with a speaker for a full day.
That is in a group environment and on the other hand, Vistage speaker, Walt Sutton, reminds us of the saying of golfer Sam Snead who said “Take time out to smell the roses”.  He could have added "and think a little".  Walt encourages leaders to take time out for a solitary retreat which he describes as taking a metaphorical walk on the beach.
It is vital for the leader to realise that he/she is generally the only person in the business who actually thinks about it, about its present and its future, about its vision and about its potential.
Yes, everyone in the business will give some thought to their job and its manifestations, but only the leader thinks about it in a holistic sense.  That thinking time is vital for the future of the business and it is usually the last thing in which the leader indulges.
There seems to be an inherent sense of guilt at apparently not "doing" anything visibly tangible but just sitting quietly and thinking.   One member of my group did just that for a full day (after a lot of encouragement) to think about a relatively difficult issue in the business. When I asked him what had happened he said:
“At the end of the thinking day, nothing at all, but a couple of days later, ideas started to pop out and I was able to solve the problem”.
It is well known that if we consider a problem, then close down and forget it, the brain continues to work on it subconsciously.
Remember that if the leader doesn’t apply serious thinking to the business and its future, no-one else will and the future will just happen for good or bad.  Go smell those roses and take some time to think.

For more information, visit www.vistage.co.uk and www.maa-uk.co.uk
To contact us, email to ivan.goldberg@vistage.co.uk

1 comment:

David C Roberts said...

I agree Ivan! Whilst the ideas around reflecting and reflection are well documented I wonder how many of us actually take enough time to reflect. It seems to me that we are too often tied to the 'what's next to do on the list' mentality of the time management efficiency movement.

You blog also reminded me of the Drucker mantra 'Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From [that] will come even more effective action.'

Happy Sunday