I had a conversation today with my "favorite AVP"--can't tell you who he/she is or what he/she and I discussed, except to say that it was about think time. That's right--set aside appointments with yourself in your "Starbucks Chair" to simply think about, over, and through your business, your market, your team, even your life.
Think time is a discipline that many of the most effective executives are religiously committed to. I recently read of Vikram Pandit (the new head of CitiGroup) who, even while traveling the world trying to learn about and turn around that financial behemoth, insists on putting reflection time in his busy schedule.
Don't be fooled. It won't happen by accident and it isn't effective when combined with your daily commute. It works when you get out a scratch pad by yourself for an hour or so at a time and really apply your intellect to your situation.
I know we are all busy and under the gun and this probably seems like a low priority. But, I would tell you that what we DON"T need right now is a high level of thoughtless activities or just revving up the engine of the way we've always done it. What we need is for leaders at all levels of the organization to think and think well and think often; then, based on good thought, we can DO what we thought. That will make a difference.