They weren’t multi-tasking; they had time to reflect. It’s a luxury leaders don’t have today, and that’s a real loss. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin*
During the past twenty years, the landscape of communication has changed. It seems that everyone has a cell phone and a portable internet-enabled device. These devices have been great business tools that have allowed us to get answers quicker and keep informed of important events and news. They have also facilitated the globalization of business and helped us keep track of kids. There are many positive things that have resulted in development of these products.
However, It also seems that it is difficult for many people to go one minute disconnected from their network of friends and colleagues. I witness this in every place from the board room to the church pew. And in this world where we can be reached anywhere via phone, or text, or email we can actually work longer hours and spend more time attending to the needs of our business. But in doing so, are we actually doing what is best for the business?
Before cell phones and mobile devices, decisions sometimes had to be made at a moment’s notice by someone other than the boss, or the leader, or the person in charge. As a result, I think we spent more time developing the people who might have to make those decisions. And people were learning from having to make those decisions. And succession planning was occurring very naturally. And leaders had time to think and to reflect.
In order to grow and develop, adults need experience and time to reflect. Add it to your calendar and put it on your to-do list. Take the time for reflection and give other experience. In that way, we can all grow.
*As quoted from “Leadership Lessons from Abraham Lincoln: A Conversation with Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin” by Diane Coutu.
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