Review off web site suite101.com. Link to the full article is here. Below is a chunk from the review:
Consider Book Review
Jan 14, 2011 Patricia FaulhaberTaking the time to stop,think and consider during the workday is almost nonexistent these days. New book encourages thinking before doing.
Stop and think before doing something stupid. How many parents have used that line on their teenagers before letting them out the door? What would happen if the boss at work started telling employees the same thing?
A new book, Consider Harnessing the Power of Reflective Thinking in the Organization (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011 ISBN 978-0-230-10607-9) by Daniel Patrick Forrester tells readers that it may be time for us to “step back and question the pace, personal impact, chaotic information flows, unpredictability, and lack of meaning within organizations.”
In other words, stop and think before doing something stupid at work. Remember, time is not reversible and there are NO do-overs. Forrester’s research shows that allowing time to think should be a central part of busy employees’ and overwhelmed leadership’s roles within an organization.
Workers Have Attention Deficit
Forrester writes, “When overworked people declare that they don’t have time to think, leaders have a choice.” Companies and organizations can work with the status quo and continue to believe the work can be done without thought and consideration, or they can “insist that reflection is a strategic business enabler.”
Employees these days have their attention pulled in several different directions at the same time which is a direct result of among other things:
- Longer workdays due to being connected 24/7 through technology.
- Information overloads creating the inability to understand and use the data effectively
- Being globally connected
- The nonstop global news cycle
- Technology savvy younger generations
Thinking and considering means focusing on one thing long enough to develop ideas and solutions versus allowing interruptions and outbursts to dominate one’s day. Forrester’s research found that critical thinking only occupies 10 to 12 percent of a typical work day.
The author used over a hundred interviews with leaders from business, the military, diplomats, anthropologists, economists, academics, musicians, and one former gang member from Chicago to develop his theory. Forrester uses many non-standard resources for his case studies and examples. There are several references throughout along with an entire chapter that uses military case studies. Forrester does a good job of applying those examples to further support his premise for the need to slow down in order to think and consider situations before acting.
Review by John Budd, Directorship Magazine:
Time to Think
Posted By John F. Budd Jr. On October 20, 2010 @ 4:45 pm In Home Highlight News Story | 1 Comment
As rare as finding a marble-sized pearl in an ordinary looking oyster, a new book offers career-saving advice that demands only the discipline of willpower and a dollop of introspection. Daniel P. Forrester’s unpretentiously titled, Consider: Harnessing the Power of Reflective Thinking in Your Organization (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) is an eye-opening examination of the downside of what technology has wrought: intimidating us into making instantaneous decisions stripped of thinking and reflection. The author argues persuasively that while technology favors us with an abundance of information, we, paradoxically, give most of it short shrift, taking less and less time to reflect on what we are deciding.
Transparency is seductive; if served up in legally sanctioned portions, it’s like opening Pandora’s Box.
Information has morphed into entertainment, Forrester attests, shorn of real meaning and context: “We’ve become addicted to impulsive and immediate responsiveness to every request, call or email that’s lobbed our way. The vibration in our pocket has become a digital proxy for the sound of a bell once used by a doctor named Pavlov.”
Directors may take umbrage at the mere suggestions that they skimp on thinking matters through. There’s always a bit of machismo in being swiftly decisive. Isn’t that what shareholders expect? What Forrester argues is for discipline to think “horizontally, systematically and dispassionately.” That’s academic-speak for solid consideration of the pros and cons…to literally step back and think of how the decision will be seen and interpreted by those audiences critical to the company: shareholders and stakeholders. They may not like what they perceive. So, make changes in timing, language or create a sequence that prepares shareholders for the decision. Transparency is seductive; if served up in legally sanctioned portions, it’s like opening Pandora’s Box.
Our culture of busyness, Forrester main tains, and our bias towards action, ex acer bated by the dis tractions bred by tech nology, make it nearly impossible for leaders to consistently ask the right questions or to challenge their own assumptions.
Yet some do it, albeit quirkily. President Obama is a reputed night owl. General David Petraeus surrounds himself with Rhodes/Fulbright scholars who force him to defend his views. Bill Gates escapes to a cabin in the woods for his periodic “think week”—no family, aides, visitors or distractions. The late Sam Walton arrived at the office at 4:30 a.m. Colin Powell would shut the office door for an hour or so to read and think.
Immediacy has a place, Forrester acknowledges, as in a crisis. But, some advance thought on how you’ll respond to the inevitable exigency will improve the credibility of the response. Think time, he emphasizes, only arises if it is made a priority.
Given the limited time that top executives and directors have for discretionary reading and an aversion to being lectured, Forrester could have framed his book as an open memorandum, making his pivotal points succinctly as he would in face-to-face conversation. Why water down the salutory influence of his thesis by falling into the too-familiar mode of how-to?
John F. Budd Jr. writes regularly on governance and management issues. He is a member of the advisory board of the NACD and a director of its New York chapter. He is founder and chairman of the Omega Group, a private think tank.