When did you last hear silence?
I heard something the other day that I hadn’t heard for a long time. Silence.
With a moment to spare in central London I strayed into my old college, the London School of Economics and its Shaw Library. Named after George Bernard.
Picture a deliberately old style library like you might find in a country house. Wooden bookcases, glass fronted. Standard lamps. Oils on the walls. Armchairs. And silence.
The chairs are comfy and one or two of the fine young minds are resting their eyes. But in the main it’s a hive of intellectual activity. But an un-noisy one. Soundless laptops. Quiet reading. Silent editing of this week’s essay. Something about the silence is very powerful.
My visit came just before the Gadaffi controversy and the understandable sound and fury it leashed about the School. But if you went in today or tomorrow, the silence in the Shaw Library would be just the same.
But once the current generation of students leave behind the Shaw Library, it might be a long time before they hear silence again – especially at work. Open plan offices. Ideas pitched in Starbucks. Deals done on the hands-free over the hum of tyres on tarmac.
Maybe a bit more silence now and then would give extra power to our knowledge economy. It might help us focus even better on desired futures, who we can enlist to help and how it’s all going to get delivered.
Leadership nudge: How often do you make use of the simple tool of ‘stop and think’ – in a quiet place – to power your business brain?
By Chris Van Schaick
Learn more about the author of this article, Chris Van Schaick