Strategic thinking doesn't find itself. Jeff Weiner says, you need time, which requires stepping away from tactical execution to make room for strategic planning. We have to learn to schedule "nothing"!
Jeff Weiner is a busy dude. As the CEO of LinkedIn, he has a constant pull of to-dos, and as leaders often do, he has days of meeting after meeting after meeting. Realizing he had little time to think, he opted for what first felt like an "indulgence": he started scheduling nothing.
How does that work?
Weiner explains that his scheduling nothing are his "buffers," that is, 30- to 90-minute blocks of time without meetings. And rather than a kind of indulgence, Weiner realized the free spaces were "absolutely necessary" for him to do his job.
Weiner explains that one of the responsibilities of leadership is to create the time-space to strategize:
"As the company grows larger ... you will require more time than ever before to just think: Think about what the company will look like in three to five years; think about the best way to improve an already popular product or address an unmet customer need; think about how you can widen a competitive advantage or close a competitive gap, etc."
To do it well, you require:
- Uninterrupted focus
- Thoroughly developing and questioning assumptions
- Synthesizing all of the data, information, and knowledge that's incessantly coming your way
- Connecting dots
- Bouncing ideas off of trusted colleagues
- Iterating through multiple scenarios
And to do all that conceiving and re-conceiving, you need time, which requires stepping away from tactical execution to make room for strategic planning.
GOOD LEADERSHIP NEEDS FREE TIME ... TIME FOR THINKING AND STRATEGIC PLANNING!
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