December 21, 2014

Read “Consider: Harnessing the Power of Reflective Thinking in Your Organization”

Consider: Harnessing the Power of Reflective ThinkingI always like to say that I’m on the “Get Rich Slow Plan” mainly because I need to feel good about the fact that I haven’t quite figured out how to make a million dollars in 30 days.  Well, guess what?  I’ve just found out that slowing down is a good thing!

At least, that’s what I’m reading in Consider: Harnessing the Power of Reflective Thinking in Your Organization. I think I received this review copy because the publishing houses have somehow caught on to the fact that I’m an absolute sucker for any book written about brains, time, ideas and business.  They must also know that I’m looking for any excuse to slow down.  If this sounds like you, then you, too, might find Consider an interesting book.

Daniel Patrick Forrester (@DPForrester) has pulled together a really intriguing read that is bound to make you feel better about taking the time to stand there and do nothing.  Overall, this is a book about NOT rushing in, NOT multi-tasking and giving yourself the permission to stop the merry-go-round and get off for a while.  In fact, the more critical the situation, the more imperative it is to take the time to think about what’s actually going on, get clear on context, and develop a sense of understanding so that you can respond in the best possible manner.

Consider Shows That Acting Too Quickly Can Mean Disaster

In an introductory video on the Consider website Forrester explains how our hurried, always-on, always-in-action lifestyle doesn’t leave us enough time to actually think through all the possibilities. In fact, only 10 percent of our day is actually spent thinking!  And when you consider that every time we are interrupted, it takes 11 minutes to get back to what we were doing, you can see how much productivity and time is wasted.

For some reason we seem to think that when situations get risky or tough, the best thing we can do is swing into action.  In fact, the opposite is true.  The higher the stakes in a situation, the more important it is to step back from the data and look for meaning.

Inside the Book

Daniel Forrester interviewed people who make a point of giving themselves uninterrupted thinking time before taking significant action.  One of the more surprising interview subjects was Tio Hardiman.  Tio’s story starts with gang violence in the South Side of Chicago and ends with the creation of a “new mental model for looking at violence.”  Instead of reacting violently in violent situations, Hardiman got the idea of adding credible people to potentially violent situations so that they would interrupt the violence before it reached a tipping point.

I also love the example from the seemingly opposite side of the tracks – Wall Street.  As it turns out, although Wall Street isn’t as physically violent, its stressful situations mimic the perceived risk level of violent streets.  In either case, failure to take the time to think about the downside of your actions within the system can lead to destruction.

Forrester’s interviews show how much better your solutions and outcomes can be if you just take the time to process and problem-solve as well as get other people involved.

This is a super-current book because it actually references the BP Deep Water Horizon oil spill and how Thad Allen took the time to actually think through a problem instead of jumping to the first solution that came into his head.  Forrester also interviewed General Petraeus and shows how he planned the Iraq surge strategy by gathering expert insights from a variety of experts that included Vietnam veterans and sociologists.

Consider Is a Must-Read for All Leaders

This is a relevant book for leaders in every facet of our lives: CEOs, politicians, parents and entrepreneurs.   As a leader you need to hold yourself back from having to get results this minute.  Remember the phrase “Fools rush in,” and give the people on your team the freedom to stop and get perspective before taking action.

Of course, you may not want to luxuriate with every circumstance; after all, the deadlines and demands on your time won’t go away.  And this is exactly where Consider will come in handy–to help you prioritize and choose exactly where and when you will make and take the time to think and…consider.

To keep up with Daniel Forrester and read his latest articles, check out his blog, DanielForrester.

4 Comments ▼

Ivana Taylor - Book Editor


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is Book Editor for Small Business Trends and publisher of DIYMarketers , where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is the President of Third Force, Inc., a marketing firm that specializes in getting your ideal customer to choose you. Ivana is the book editor for Small Business Trends and co-author of the book "Excel for Marketing Managers."

4 Reactions

  1. Ivana,

    Thanks for another intriguing book review! Could you compare and contrast with some other book that you have read?

  2. This book affirms what I tell my small business clients! I often advise them to “be deliberate” which is not the same as making a decision at a snail’s pace. Coming back to what is essential and important to the business helps keep perspective and avoids getting caught up in a frantic pace.

    I look forward to reading this book!

  3. @Martin –

    Funny that you should mention comparing and contrasting. I’m not sure that this is a direct comparison at all – because the book I’m talking about is specifically about building a business. And “Consider” is about so much MORE than that. But, in my introduction, I said that I was on the get rich slow plan – and in a new book by MJ DeMarco called “The Millionaire Fastlane” – he’s saying that the get rich slow plan is basically a get nowhere plan. I’ve just barely started reading it – but I can’t wait to see his specific strategies for getting off my butt to start building a thriving business.

    Another book this reminds me of is the 4-Hour Work Week. Because in this book as well, Ferris is advocating getting on with things – getting to your goal as fast as possible.

    Again – the books I referenced are about BUSINESS specifically and Consider is more about coming up with solutions in situations. Not the same, but it made me CONSIDER that we may have adopted our short cut action-oriented strategies across the board, when we should be taking the time to consider more alternatives.

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