It was a profound moment when my boss said, “Renie, stop hoping I will congratulate you on a job well done. You need to understand that I pay you to think and the fact that you did is an acknowledgment of you doing your job!”

Harsh? Well, maybe a little. It was a big pill to swallow and it was also a moment I have valued for decades. It made me a much better thinker, strategist, and reader. Reading stimulates thought and personally inspires innovation in my soul like nothing else.

Thinking improves performance. 

Most of us rush to dive into action. Action without thought is usually a time waster. It depletes productivity and is the silent profitability killer.

Here are a few tips on how to turn on your mind…

  • Block time on your calendar every week to just stop and think—Minimum of 1 hour. Do not cancel it! This is not the time to plan your week… this is time to think, innovate, and explore without limits.
  • To help you think, consider the following questions or create your own. I use index cards and put a question on each card (Of course I have a process! It helps keeps my creative mind focused). I pick my card(s), close my eyes, and let it rip. Before I know it, I am typing an endless stream of thoughts. Sometimes they are crap; other times they are interesting; and still other times…
    • What are my most important outcomes?
    • How am I spending my time against them?
    • What matters most?
    • Where are the low hanging opportunities I am too busy to notice?
    • Who is wasting my time?
    • How can I think through this assignment so I can do it smarter than ever before?
    • What projects do I have in front of me? How shall I go about them?  What am I not thinking about?  Who can I involve to challenge my approach? And how might they help me think smarter or bigger?
    • What is inspiring me?
  • What inspires your mind? Reading, running, going to a conference, learning something new, looking at analogies in the world? Once you know where to go to find your internal inspiration, you have the fuel to think BIG.

All in,

Renie

PS:  People do engage more with sugar and sometimes you have a boss who believes,”If you want a friend, go get yourself a dog!” At least you know where you stand and what to expect. Maybe it even inspires you to be a better boss!