Thinking is a leadership prerequisite. In our society too much value is placed on action. It’s almost as if time spent not actually “doing” something is time not well spent. Hyper-activity is celebrated, and we marvel at people who manage to add even more to an already full plate of responsibilities. While hard work is certainly to be valued, it is not and end in and of itself. Working hard or piling on activities is non-productive if not preceded by a thoughtful analysis of what SHOULD be done.
Many leaders I know struggle initially with the idea that the most value they bring to their company or organization is their ability to think not act. Of course, thought without action is meaningless. However, the top people in any organization need to regularly step back and reflect on strategic implications, priorities, etc. They also need to grasp both the external and internal dynamics affecting their organization and chart the most effective course given these variables (making changes along the way). Moreover, they need to continually challenge conventional wisdom and strive to find new and better ways to do things. The only way to properly do this is to spend time thinking not just figuring it out as you go along. Working hard but not smart ends up wasting valuable time and energy and it rarely achieves optimal outcomes.