Thinking at work isn’t dead – is it?
The smartest bloke I ever knew used to start his working day by putting his feet up on the desk. Is that still important?
I’d gone to work in his department from a demanding operational job and it was a shock to see all this apparent leisure happening. So I asked him what he was doing and got the predictable answer:
Just recently I’ve been coaching in a couple of organisations where the amount and quality of thinking left a lot to be desired!
Problems which could have been worked through seemed mystifying.
Rewarding opportunities, which a little bit of smart analysis would have highlighted, were lost in a frenetic chasing of the more obvious.
My smart boss was quite fierce about it:
“I recruited you to do the smart thinking too. So you’d better find your own way to make it happen.”
But it’s not just the business benefits that make good thinking so important. The future of work is going to be very different, just in the next few decades compared with today, driven by an exponential growth in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace. It might not be too strong to say that:
In the future, if you’re not thinking at work, you won’t be at work!
AI experts say that the human talents they believe machines and automation may not be able to replicate are primarily about:
- collaborative activity
- abstract and systems thinking
- complex communication
- the ability to thrive in diverse environments.
All of those require at least a modicum of good quality thought.
If you’re a business owner or a leader in a larger organisation:
- How much good thinking are you doing yourself (whether you have your feet up on the desk or not)?
- How do you make sure that your teams are doing enough good thinking?
As usual, please leave me a comment if they’re still open below, or tweet me @NickRobCoach. What kind of thinking is important in your work – and how do you make it happen?