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The Shallows Drives Execution - The Depths Drive Strategy

So I'm driving this morning and listening to "The Shallows" by Nick Carr and something hits me so hard I had to pause the audio book and contemplate what I'd discovered about myself.

I use my web skimming, hyper-active, totally immersed, always-on, matrix like connectivity to execute in business.   and...
I use my slow down, book reading, long term, ponderous, simplified thinking to be strategic in business.

These items may seem trivial and obvious but I'd challenge you to look at your own situation and ask, "Am I applying true strategic thinking and perspective to a challenge?  Or am I just using my web skills to rapidly and blindly apply quick fixes to the challenge because they're in my comfort zone?"

The web has absolutely rewired my psyche, as Carr discusses in The Shallows, to manage vast volumes of snippet based information with constant interruption.  However I'm taking cognitive steps to maintain the deep thinking "slow twitch" process of immersion into longer texts, books, and strategic thinking to balance my skills and my life.

There's a distinct lack of strategic thinking out there (maybe look at Government as an example) so perhaps the ability to simply read a 200 page book and to think critically applying lessons learned will become a high value skill set and job description line item.  I can see it now:

  • Must be able to read a 200 page paper book without checking email on blackberry or sending a text message.
What other skills do you see on the job description of the future strategic thinker role?

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Mike Wagner

Great observation! Love the distinction between "web-skimming...execute" and "slow down...strategic". Exactly!

Job descriptions that call for "long form" learning skills may already be happening. If not, not long before they show up as you suggest.

Had lunch with executive with exactly this issue and self-aware. There's hope when you catch yourself in The Shallows!

Keep creating...depth,

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