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Creating Space for Strategic Thinking

STRATEGIC THINKING is identified by 97% of leaders as essential to the organisation’s success but how often do we connect this to mental capacity? We can fool ourselves into thinking we’re being effective but in a study reported by HBR, 96% of leaders said they lack the time to fulfill this critical part of their role.

The misalignment between the goal to be strategic and the reality is often due to overwhelm with small stuff such as emails and long hours, intensity of remote working with fewer boundaries, and the belief that looking busy is important.

In a presentation I gave earlier this week for 76 professionals at the Women Utilities Network, I linked the impact of increasing emotional arousal and a reduction in productivity. I talked about the importance of taking short breaks, getting outside and creating mental space.

It’s not a luxury but a necessity to be successful. And studies, such as those by Stanford University, back this up.

Two questions to ask yourself now:

1. How do you reward yourself and others to take time out to be their best? Remember busy does not correlate with good outcomes.

2. How do you organise your day, prioritising tasks and allocating hours? Get clear about how you use your time.

Take responsibility and create space for effective leadership.

Easier said than done? It takes self-discipline and the ability to quieten your internal voice that can resist changes of behaviour. It also help when the culture within your organisation has an ethos about looking after its people and promoting their ability to thrive and perform. Drop me a line and I’ll help.


If Strategy Is So Important, Why Don’t We Make Time For It? D. Clark, 21 June 2018, Harvard Business Review

Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking. M. Oppezzo and D. L. Schwartz, Stanford University. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition. 2014 Vol 40 , No 4