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January 2018
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January 2018
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Taking the Time to Think

Monday, February 19, 2018

In today’s fast-paced workplace, it’s rare that we actually have time to sit down and think. When faced with a problem, most people don’t actually ruminate—they just take their first thought and run with it. Rarely, if ever, is this the best idea they are capable of. One of the main problems is that in the modern office environment, busyness has become an end in itself; and with constant meetings, phone calls, texts, and email, people are losing the ability to problem-solve. We schedule our time in five- to eight-minute increments, without ever slowing down to thoughtfully consider the tasks at hand. Slowing down is viewed as weakness, and downtime isn’t productive. However, this rationale is flawed. If it takes one employee 30 minutes to come to a conclusion when another person got there in 30 seconds, the thoughtful employee is far more likely to have a better idea of the nuances of the situation and of what variables matter the most. While it took longer to reach a solution, that solution is far more likely to be the best one, and there is far less chance for mistakes.

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And yet the flawed rationale is consistently reinforced. In the perception of performance, especially as a leader, quick decisions are rewarded over thoughtful ones. Unless a quick decision results in an error that creates a significant negative ROI - one that is traceable back to that decision - there are no repercussions for failure to understand nuances, and little to no recognition for understanding.
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