John Donohoe, CEO of eBay, has a thought provoking post on LinkedIn this morning...he says that he has found that he needs to step away from the chaos of everyday business and take a thinking day at least once every three months. He describes what he does, and how it works in the business.
"One of the most under-discussed elements of effective leadership is how fast a leader must learn to stay at peak performance. Most successful leaders never stop learning. In fact, they are voracious learners who are always trying to find ways to improve and enhance their own performance and that of those around them.
"I have found that one of the simplest tools for learning and enhancing my performance is to regularly reflect on how to spend my time. Every six months I go through a process where I step back, contemplate what I have learned over the previous six months, and then adjust my focus to ensure I am spending my time and energy in ways where I can create the greatest impact."
I have always thought that the massively increased pace of business since the 1980s has not been totally wonderful for creativity and focus. You get an email, followed by another asking whether you got it, and then a phone call or a text message wondering when (demanding, really) you plan to get back to the sender with an answer.
There is no time to think, no time to do more than react. Donohoe is right. We need to make that time.