Forrester: Organizations need more reflection time

Monday - 3/14/2011, 3:05pm EDT

Daniel Patrick Forrester, author, Consider

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Daniel Patrick Forrester has an idea for leaders that may seem counter-cultural in a world of emails, instant messages and speedy decisions - Take the time to reflect.

Technology has made it easy to become drowned in data, making it difficult to sift through the data to find the deeper meaning - the subject of Forrester's book - Consider: Harnessing the Power of Reflective Thinking in Your Organization and the current DorobekINSIDER Book Club selection. Forrester is also the director of Sapient Government Services.

People can't deny answering emails or turn their backs to the rush of information. But, Forrester said, leaders can create a framework within the organization to hatch and nurture new ideas.

Research firm Basex found that knowledge workers spend only 5 to 10 percent of their days "thinking and reflecting," Forrester wrote in on website. Meanwhile, these workers spend 28 percent of their time responding to interruption and disruption.

In this type of work culture, Forrester said, "You have to ask yourself, Am I really productive? Am I really contributing to the mission the way that I could? Am I focusing what little time that I have giving time to think and to deeply pull through issues - or am I simply coping?"

Forrester said the time to reflect must be structured; otherwise, employees will simply return to the default way of thinking, which creates an "inconsistent and fractured way of thinking."

What Forrester is proposing will take courage on the part of leaders, he said, but the long-term implications are great.

"My question to leaders is, If not now, when will you nurture the next big idea to make sure your organization is relevant moving forward in this big, tumultuous century?" Forrester said.

Details of the DorobekINSIDER Book Club discussion
When: Friday, April 15 at 3 p.m.
Where: On Federal News Radio 1500 AM's DorobekINSIDER and DorobekINSIDER.com
The book: Consider: Harnessing the Power of Reflective Thinking In Your Organization by Daniel Patrick Forrester

If you haven't participated in the book club before, this is something akin to the Oprah book club. You don't have to be anywhere we'll hold the book club "meeting" right on the air on Federal News Radio 1500 AM's DorobekINSIDER radio program. In addition to the author, Daniel Patrick Forrester, we will also have some experts in the government world so we can discuss how it touches how this market works. We invite your thoughts, questions and observations on the book before, during and after.

Also, join the discussion on Facebook.