I recently read somewhere (the source has momentarily escaped me – but the quote rangers are on the hunt already) that top executives make sure to include time for reflection in their daily activities. That reflection takes many forms: alone time to read, write, journal and the like; meditation; walking a golf course or other exercise with time to think; and the like. Coaches bring a partnership in reflection. Sometimes they are referred to as strategic thinking partners, etc. Depending on the mix of consulting in their coaching approaches, coaches can support executives in a quality of reflection that fosters strategic preparedness. This isn’t about planning. It is about opening oneself to possibilities and potentials.
Executives who naturally perceive patterns, possibilities and potentials may take to this quite readily. Those who tend to focus more on detail will be challenged, both to take the time and to exercise those “different” thinking muscles. Each individual dances somewhere on the spectrum between the two. There are many opportunities to connect these two perspectives in ways that work with where the executive is centered on this spectrum. One way is to be sensitive to the connections between the issues that concern the executive with cross-boundary networks. Embedded in these relationships are the seeds of strategic and systemic development opportunities.