Silence really is GOLDEN!
As sugar is the enemy of the American diet (and I believe it is at least one of the top 3), talking just might be the biggest enemy of insight.
How much time on your calendar today was blocked for ‘thinking’? Thinking about a project, a problem, an opportunity, a person on your team, or nothing. On the other hand, much time on your calendar today was blocked for talking with someone or many someones? And, during that conversation or on that coveted conference call how much silence was there at any given point? My guess is precious little… we are simply not committed to allowing silence be a planned part of our day. Our level of activity and over-scheduled calendars is epidemic. It is rare that you find someone who is religious about quiet time during the work day.
Consider your totally booked day and then stop for one minute and think… how many brand-new ideas were generated today, by you or others, as you talked? I mean genuinely new, innovative thoughts? How many “aha moments” did you have?
Insights require reflection, silence, breaks from the talking, and often even breaks from direct and active (aka hard) thinking. I often challenge leaders to spend a few hours at a coffee shop of their choice to simply ‘think about their direct reports’… consider each person, individually; make notes about what they knew about the person — strengths, triggers, learning style preferences… just think about their people. (I even offer to buy gift cards to encourage the activity.)
I don’t know how many leaders take me up on the idea. Will you? Try it — block time just to think. You’ll be amazed at how much you actually ‘accomplish’!