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I am calling the assistant of a board member and he says that she is completely booked out. Not for this week. Not for this months. For the next 3 months!

nothing moves
booked out

Puhhh, what a busy, important irreplaceable person she must be, I think to myself. And indeed, when I try to arrange a meeting with her later on this year, I cannot see a single space in the calendar. It looks like a wall that is high and broad, basically never ending. Like a Chinese Wall protecting her maybe or dividing us in fact or a prison wall one may even say.

For her, it is impossible to receive any signals that need to stop at the wall. She is talking a lot – as do other board members – about the change. About the constant change that is even accelerating. She is talking about signals that we need to sense, absorb and even if they are weak, we need to read them and translate them into insights, actions, decisions.

But, hey, it doesn’t fit! If there is change ongoing all the time out there, if there are also weak signals with dramatic impacts then one shall have good antennas to receive them. One shall have open doors, well, time windows so the signals can get in. Time windows are windows of opportunity.

I am really sorry for people with no windows but fully blocked calendars. Once, I have asked one of this person:

So when do you have a meeting with yourself?

Never!, he said.

Ohh, I noted, is there a person more important than you to you?

Hmmm…, he was thinking.

If you are not important to yourself, how can you be important to others?, I’ve asked. When you were a kid, did you also have this toy, a frame with a puzzle? You could shift small squares within the frame to finally see a picture. This puzzle would not work without the empty space. Nothing would move and no picture would appear. With no empty space, there is no way to get things done and everything remains random and sometimes scary or ugly.


My key takeaways:

  1. If your calendar is full, you cannot breathe. You cannot receive signals. You will miss things that might have led you to different, better decisions.

  2. If your calendar is full, you overestimate your control and you underestimate the power of spontaneity and random flashes of wisdom that generated most of the innovations in the world.

  3. If your calendar is full, your mind will be soon empty. And so will be your heart.

How to lead now…

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Music happens due to gap between notes.

The forests gets its diversity of species due to tree-fall gap in the canopy.

The gun needs a gap to recoil and fire again.

Gap between the breaths is where, they say, God exists.


there is one thing you won't get more of: time. It's the only thing you can't buy.

So, protect your time!

Make sure you fill up your calendar before others do otherwise we merely react to a never-ending to-do list of requests and demands from others.

How much time do you have in your schedule dedicated to “think time”? Where do you do your best thinking? 

Einstein turned to his violin whenever he was stuck. Woody Allen changed rooms and took multiple showers. Beethoven took hour-long strolls. 

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So true, Luca. As times go by, we can drop ship our little contribution for the future generations and let it swing and let it travel…

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