Around my mid-twenties I discovered something invaluable; I discovered the art of disappearing. I would spend what I thought were insane amounts of time behind a closed office door, pondering a problem. I would experiment with possible scenarios from multiple viewpoints. I would crunch numbers in excel, look for any writings I could find related to my problem, develop organizational models to solve issues (realistic or not), and eventually I would get a breakthrough.

As I have transitioned from being a mid-manager to an executive, I have found that those “thinking times” are significantly harder to come by. Ironically the tyranny of the urgent is a very real threat to the creative spaces executives need to solve problems.

Reflect on your own successes. How many breakthroughs have been achieved on a back deck, a lone car drive, a long run on a treadmill or some other form of solitude. If you are having a tough time breaking though a barrier right now, it could be that you need to take some time to think.