Last week, Atlanta was paralyzed by snow and ice, mostly ice. To my friends in the northern part of the country, this must have looked ridiculous. After all, I think the maximum snowfall occurred miles north of the city and totaled 3 inches. Yet that’s all it took for me to spend more than 8 hours on my ride home… and I was one of the lucky ones.
What do you do when you’re in your car for 8-plus hours? If you have food, you’d probably eat it. If you have enough gas, you’ll try to keep moving. If you have a podcast on your phone, you’ll listen to it; and there’s always the radio. More than anything else, you wait.
Sitting and waiting is not something leaders do well. We like action, movement and progress. At one point, I traveled about a mile in three hours! Not the pace that makes a leader’s heart race. It is the pace that can make your blood boil. Leaders generally like action, and we want it yesterday.
However, that’s not the way life works sometimes. We find ourselves in countless situations in which we don’t control the pace of things. So what do you do when you find yourself waiting? My advice is: THINK.
- Think about your goals.
- Think about your next steps on critical issues.
- Think about problems you’re facing.
- Think about potential solutions to your problems.
- Think about people who might be able to help you with your problems.
- Think about how to create or increase competitive advantage in your industry.
- Think about your aspirations.
- Think about your leadership.
- Think about your personal growth.
- Think about your results.
- Think about promises not yet fulfilled.
- Think about how you can better serve those you lead.
- Think about your legacy.
- Think about calling your mom.
- Think about how to get moving in a positive direction again, as soon as possible!
Thomas Watson, the former chairman of IBM, challenged his team in 1911 with the motto: “THINK.” It was good advice then; it’s even more essential today. Leaders who don’t make time to think will never reach their full potential and neither will the organizations they lead.
So, the next time you find yourself waiting, it may be a gift… if you stop and THINK.[GLS_Shield]