Now Is the Season for Some Timely Inaction

Insight #339

Some executives execute too much and think too little. (Created with Microsoft Copilot)

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We’re at that stage of the economic cycle where I worry that there is too much execution in every executive. Actually, I worry about this during the political cycle, the annual cycle, the budget cycle, the weather cycle, and almost any other cycle that is cyclical.

The term executive, as in chief executive officer or senior executive, means having the power to execute. To make things happen. But, as in all aspects of life, there is a catch. Make what things happen? And hence my cyclical problem.

Adults push us, from a young age, into action often simply by the questions they ask. Have you done your homework? Have you made your bed? Have you mowed the grass? Have you done this, have you done that?

They never asked, “Have you thought deeply today? Have you contemplated earnestly? Have you meditated privately?” They don’t teach the importance of why before what. No wonder I never realized that there should be a time to think and a time to act; a time to execute and a time to ruminate.

Many executives and managers don’t realize this either. I blame their mentors and teachers for focusing on decision-making skills, on action, on execution, all in the holy quest for quick results. Were they taught to strategize? Maybe. To theorize? Unlikely.

Combine this conditioned-for-action with the ever-present climate of fear in the workplace, the fear of not doing enough, of not working hard enough, of not achieving enough, and what do we get? We get executives and managers who don’t set aside time to think deep thoughts, to ponder what-next, to contemplate a future beyond this action-filled moment.

Being an executive unprepared for the day already dawned is bad enough. But being an executive willfully unprepared for an unpredictable tomorrow, well, that’s insane.

And we are all insane if we ignore the reality of living in a world that goes round and round, where this turning ensures that “to everything there is a season.” Like a season to think and a season to act.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.

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