I have come to the conclusion that one of the biggest challenges for today’s businesses is the lack of critical thinking time. No more do we have time to “chew” on a problem or “mull over” an idea. Words like cogitate and ruminate are almost extinct.
Instead we are driven by a pace measured in nano-seconds and kilobytes. We are reachable everywhere — if you don’t believe me count the number of times you hear a phone conversation in the stall next to you — all the time. The expectation of receiving an instant answer, or decision is bolstered by our ability to text message, email, IM or track down our colleagues on any vacation.
I’m not a neophyte that believes we need to abandon our technical progress of the past 20 years. Nor do I advocate abandoning the countless benefits the business world has experienced with the removal of communication barriers, the development of new technology and implementation of advanced processes. That said, I do think there should be more room for simple thinking, ideating, innovating, discussing, and considering the world, the problems, the opportunities and even the visions of a business.
A creative organization that is positioned to manage itself through the chaotic environment of today’s marketplace demands innovative solutions that make surprising connections. Today there is a dependence on speed and time, which makes it difficult to build a creative foundation. And yet, it is creativity and innovation that keeps any business growing and moving forward.
The result of all this speed and technology? Relationships within organizations are not as strong, depth of knowledge and skills are sometimes lost and business-changing ideas are swept aside as not a quick enough fix. When I worked at Hallmark back in the late 80’s and early 90’s one of my managers told me (and I agree) that good businesses are born out of good decisions based on good people doing good work for people they trust in a place they enjoy coming to.
I think that is still true — we just have to give ourselves the time to get there.