A Horrified Reaction to an Unspeakable Suggestion

There's a suggestion I often make when I'm teaching, and the reaction varies from stunned silence to sheer horror. 

Before I get to what it is (classic storytelling I know, but then I'm a writer; what do you expect?), a few words of build up. 

I was in London this week, at the excellent Civil Service College, talking about how to deal with pressure. 


As you may have guessed that's not the college, but a near neighbour, which is one of the pleasures of working in the capital - 

The chance to be a tourist and see some of Britain's magnificent heritage, like Buckingham Palace. 

Anyway, I was teaching some senior civil servants, and when I talk to people in important positions I have one matter I always like to mention.

It's a fundamental about what their job is, the essence of what they're paid for, which is this - 

Their judgment. 

Their positions don't come down to admin and paperwork, budgets and meetings, as can so often fill the working days. 

But instead their knowledge and experience, and the insights they can bring. 

One of the great values of a day out of the office, on a course, is to remember that. And here's the point - 

I always suggest - gently, as I've seen the shock it can cause - that people in important positions take some time out of the daily grind...

Turn off their phones and email, log out of social media, declare a no meeting, no interruptions few moments...

And just sit and think. 

Because thinking is where everything starts. And grows, and flourishes.

And sometimes - however hard it can be to achieve - we need to clear a few moments to do just that.