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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

A friend just handed me a chapter from Peter Senge’s book The Fifth Discipline. In it Peter writes:

“At one of our recent programs, I talked to a manger who has worked in both U.S. and Japanese firms. She said that when a person in a Japanese firm sits quietly, no one will come and interrupt. It is assumed that person is thinking. In America, we assume that when a person is sitting quietly they aren’t doing anything very important.”

One of the greatest problems I see among entrepreneurs, business leaders and any sort of executive is the lack of time to think. And, as a result, the lack of an ability to be strategic and tactical. This understanding is what has driven my career choices in my daily work and the sift experiment. I consciously chose a career path where I can train myself to think. I chose sift because I’m interested in thinking on behalf of entrepreneurs.

Peter continues the chapter:

“Even when there is ample time for reflection and facility for retrieving all manner of relevant information, most managers do not reflect carefully on their actions. Typically, managers adopt a strategy, then as soon as the strategy starts to run into problems, they switch to another strategy, then to another and another. Managers may run through three to six different strategies, without once examining why a strategy seems to be failing or articulating specifically what they hope to accomplish through a change in strategy.”

Peter writes “manager” but he could have easily written “entrepreneur”. Because an entrepreneur has the intuition to sense and grab a previously hidden opportunity doesn’t mean the same entrepreneur has the ability to be tactical or strategic in the way he pursues it.

The challenge then is two-fold: building the ability to be strategic and finding the time to exercise that ability. Too few entrepreneurs have both. Those that have the ability, tend to lack the latter while those with the time tend to lack the former.

I’ve had it in mind to find a Getting Things Done guru to compliment the things I think sift delivers. Free up time, use your brain. Anyone know who I should talk to?

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