Earlier this summer I carved out a Saturday to evaluate SpringHill’s present and think through its future. As a leader this time was important because of the critical junction SpringHill finds itself at. I needed a clear head so I could evaluate SpringHill as it is today and where it needs to be tomorrow.
I’ve learned over the years, because of how I’m wired, I need the following tools and space to do this kind of mind bending, paradigm breaking work:
First, I must have an inspiring location. I draw inspiration from nature and from quiet spaces. I also find inspiration from places with historical significance, whether it’s personal or general. On this day I chose Acorn Pointe, SpringHill Indiana’s guest house, a location that is stunning and a place that has strong historical significance for me and SpringHill.
Second, I need to stand and move. So working at a white board or flip chart is best. I also need the opportunity to go for long walks. Some of the best thinking I’ve ever done has occurred as I’ve walked. So the location needs to lend itself to leaving my work as it is and going for a long walk. For this work, my location granted me long walks around Rust Lake.
Third, it’s essential I can write my thoughts out with pen and paper. Writing helps me order my thoughts and ideas. It also helps me refine and clarify my understanding of a topic or situation. On this day I used giant 2 by 2 foot Post-It-Notes and stuck them to the windows of the guest house’s great room. This allowed me to stand, move and write all at the same time. Later, each Post-It-Note became a slide in a PowerPoint Deck that I used to present my thinking to three different SpringHill teams. I also had a journal I carried with me when I went on my walks so I could write any thoughts or ideas that came to me.
So now you know how I work best. But the more important question is – how do you work best? What are the elements that create the space you need to bring out your highest quality work? If you’ve never answered these questions, now at this moment, there’s no more important assignment you have than answering them. Because when you have the answers, you’ll have the tools to do work that makes a difference.