[September 10, 2013] I was once told that a philosopher said that if there is no answer to a question, then one should not worry about it. My personal opinion is that is exactly the opposite of what we should do.
Senior executive leaders have an obligation to think – and program themselves the time to think critically about important things, and yes those hard and unimaginable things, that matter to their organization. There must be an intense focus on the study of and reflecting on the issues that affect the long-term success of the people in the organization and its mission.
Certainly, the world is more complex today than ever before, requiring a higher level of analysis and thinking, as well as smarter and more creative responses to it. The environment that we work in today is more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. And, we are told that the old model of classic, linear problem solving will be inadequate.
Creative thinking, non-linear thinking, thinking “out of the box”, are all slogans that do have some merit to remind senior executive leaders about the necessity to be more than a day-to-day leader. In due course, it is the leader’s success in how they guide the organization through the maze of obstacles and challenges that determines if their thinking was on track.
For the senior executive leader, an “intense level of intellectual” thinking is fundamentally a method to ensure our organizations can withstand minor shocks and to push our organizations in a direction that suits mission goals and avoids major shocks.
Intellectual thinking does not mean we have to be smarter or stronger than others are; it simply means we have to be more flexible and adaptable and have a willingness proactively try new things.
Tomorrow is September 11th and the anniversary of terrorist attacks on our home soil.