Monday, November 17, 2008

Reflections on Thinking / Doing

Mark Sylvester rightly pointed out that I was being unfair when I blanketly stated some think and others do.

You ... said that we 'talk' and you 'do' - that's partially true, from my POV it is my doing that informs my talking and being extremely closely connected to my 'doers' (clients), I learn so much about what really works, and not what I think works....

At first, I was thinking it was a matter of control. Control over which projects you select, control over timelines, contril over priorities, etc.

Then I was thinking that maybe the difference was internal vs. external. Consultants can just walk away. Professors and many speakers lecture on the theory without actually reflecting it in their own teaching.

That's not quite it either.

The thinkers v. doers may be more of a reflection of a personal bias towards the seemingly practical. Taking the ideas of the folks with more time / inclination to think and theorize and explore and seeing whether those ideas / new technologies work in the environment I find myself in.

Many thinkers still teach classes and attempt to apply their ideas - even if it is on their clients. Many doers try to carve out points in the day / week to reflect on what is working and what isn't, find new ideas to make their product better.

It may be a matter of balance. How much of your job description is based on thinking, researching, planning and theorizing? How much of your job depends on concrete "results" (i.e. number of tutorials built, number of classes designed, number of students in seats)?

For me - the bulk of my job is based on production. Hence - the "doer" designation. And I personally like being able to point to something and say "Look what I did!" I find it more satisfying than wondering if any of the students in the seats really got something out of the course or whether my navel-gazing is of any use to anyone.

Thinking happens in the occasional still points. The processing occurs on the blog and in the production that occurs after the time spent thinking. The attempts to apply the thoughts.

Thanks Mark for forcing me back to the grey areas....

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