Pausing for deep thinking

During my days at McKinsey, one day we got a funny email from the engagement manager of another team working with our client.

This manager informed everyone, including the senior partners, that henceforth, he would check his email only at certain times during the day, which he shared. Therefore, he wouldn’t respond to emails immediately and for anything urgent, people were at liberty to call him.

Reading his email, people in our team room were smirking, thinking, “What a weird, quirky guy!”

After all, we were all handling our emails and getting the work done — what was this fuss about?

But looking back, I now realize that the guy was a visionary. Even in 2008, when ‘digital distraction’ was unheard of, he realized the power of taking a pause, to focus.

He intuitively realized that while you have to be top of things, if all you are doing is chasing your emails, you are just a glorified postman passing messages around.

Leadership requires deep thinking. And deep thinking can’t happen when you are running around.

There is a time to chase things. There is also a time for silence and deep thinking.

Occasionally taking the time to pause and go deep is not laziness – it shows courage. It shows real leadership.

– Rajan


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