Over a year ago, I spoke to a group of senior executives at a Fortune 100 company. People had traveled from all over the world to attend the meeting, which had been organized by the COO. These executives were hoping to get some insights into trends and six lecturers had been carefully chosen.
When the first speaker finished, the COO announced, “Please take five minutes to be silent, to reflect, to jot down any thoughts or notes. After five minutes, we’ll continue. I ask you, please, not to take a break at this time. Please enjoy these five minutes to reflect.”
I was astonished. Typically at events, the schedule is packed and speakers follow one another, rapid fire. This audience of senior executives sat quietly. Some wrote, some sat quietly.
At the end of the day, after another quiet break, the COO led a discussion with the 50 executives in attendance. The conversation was intimate, and thoughtful. People referred to their notes frequently. Attendees left, having committed to investigating some of the ideas that were proposed. Within a year, there were signs that this company had integrated a number of the new ideas that had been proposed.
We enjoy both the notes and the rests in music. This COO took this notion and translated it successfully to organizing meetings. No matter how productive we are, if we don’t take time to reflect, all that productivity will be wasted. How can this work for you in your day?