Tag Archives: solitude

#RRBC, It’s Lonely at the Top …

You know, GOD has a way of making us take stock of our lives – even our time and how we are spending it.  Just today, I thought to myself, “Just as soon as Mar gets back from her vacation, I need to take a little hiatus myself.”  Well, just as soon as that thought entered my mind, it left…quickly.

How will the club manage without me?  How will ALL the million and one things that I do every day, get done?  Who’s going to make those hard and very important decisions that I have to make on a daily basis?  If not me, who?

Then, I opened my phone (to my Twitter account) and there was this article that was meant just for me to see.

Please, read on…


Man on top of mountain. Element of design.

Leaders need time for reflection and hard analytical work, just like everyone else.


Solitude has been instrumental to the effectiveness of leaders throughout history, but now, they (as with everyone else) are losing it with hardly any awareness of the fact. Before the Information Age – which one could call the Input Age – leaders naturally found solitude anytime they were physically alone, or walking from one place to another, or standing in a line.

Like a great wave that saturates everything in its path, hand-held devices deliver immeasurable quantities of information and entertainment, that now have virtually all of us instead staring down at our phones.  Society did not make a considered choice to surrender the bulk of its time for reflection in favor of time spent reading tweets or texts.

Yet, with an awareness of what we have lost, each of us can choose to reclaim it.  And leaders in particular – whose actions by definition affect not only themselves – have more than a choice.  They have an obligation.  A leader has a responsibility to seek out periods of solitude.

The assumption, unless the leader says otherwise, is that he is constantly accessible – if not in person, then electronically.  But the task of changing that assumption requires only an act of will.  A leader can designate a certain number of workdays each month as no-meeting days, as Endgame CEO, Nate Fick does.  A leader can mark off 60 or 90 minutes each day for time to think.  A leader can make it known that he does not text or check his email only intermittently or at certain points in the day.  (One has to wonder what leaders who make a point of responding to email within minutes, are otherwise doing with their time.)  A leader can declare weekends off-limits for work email, as Wendy Kopp did at Teach for America.

There is a price to be paid for changes like these. Email will go unanswered for hours rather than minutes, subordinates might have to wait 60 minutes to speak to the boss, and meetings might get pushed back a day.

So be it.  Scheduling a leader’s time is a zero-sum game, and fundamentally a manager must decide whether reflection and hard analytical work are important enough to warrant perhaps a third of his time.

There is another price for changes like these, namely the usual social levy upon nonconformity.  Left unexplained, these changes will lead others to say the leader is arrogant, aloof, unapproachable.  But there is a reason to leave the reasons for solitude unexplained.  The leader can simply make clear, in as much or as little detail as he sees fit, that doing the organization’s work requires time to think.

And he can bear out that explanation during the times when he is accessible – by providing subordinates with clear comments on their work rather than vague ones, thoughtful answers rather than platitudes, and otherwise performing like a leader who has thought through his guiding principles rather than made them up on the fly.

(This article taken from THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)


RRBC, if we are to continue to grow as we have in years past, I need time away.  My job is a HUGE one here, and although I am not complaining, I’d like the time away to regroup so that I can do my job better (just as you all get time away to regroup)…and when I’m doing my job better, when I’m at the top of my game, we all benefit from that.

So, it won’t be today, maybe not even tomorrow, but sometime soon, I will be taking a much-needed rest or mini vacation.  It will only be for a week, and, I’ll probably still work during that time, but at least I won’t feel so bad when I turn on my computer to write and ignore the hundreds of email that have popped into my email box within minutes of my waking.

I also hope that during my short time away, that all of my wonderful RRBC family members will continue to do what they would normally do when I’m present – supporting each other, lifting each other up, recruiting, engaging, welcoming, and don’t forget, leaving honest reviews…all in all, just playing nice, so that those standing in my stead won’t have so much to deal with in my absence.

I hope you all have enjoyed this “peace.”  I sure did. 😉

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