I have run a couple of planning workshops recently, and one comment that I often get is that it is good to be able to spend time thinking, but that it means that when you get back to the office, there will be a ton of work to do. My response is always that "thinking is work too". But we don't often accept this as reality, seeing instead that only the phone, the computer, the bits of paper we shuffle around, the meetings and the problem-solving as work. We think about all those things every day, but we don't regard taking time out to think strategically as 'work'.

We have become so focused on the tangible (the Upper and Lower Right quadrants in Wilber-speak) that we forgot to pay attention to the intangible (the Upper and Lower Left quadrants). We wonder why things don't work sometimes, or why people are so obtuse in a meeting - perhaps it because we forgot to pay attention to organisational culture? We wonder why our wonderfully crafted strategic plans don't get implemented in the ways we wanted them to? Perhaps it was because we forgot to pay attention to the Upper Left quadrant - where staff hopes and dreams and fears about the future or the organisation reside? Perhaps it was because we didn't actually take time to tap into what people are thinking?

Busy is now the norm in universities - there's no down time like there was when I first started working in them. Just keeping the wheels turning takes about all the energy we have. But, I think my aim is to move to a situation where it's a badge of honour not to talk about the 200 emails I received today, but rather to talk about the 30 minutes I scheduled into my diary to do some strategic thinking. Let's start a new trend - where thinking is viewed as work too.