BCG Henderson Institute

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I was never much of a writer. In fact, 40 years ago, my math SATs were 200 points higher than my verbal SATs. (A “perfect” combined score was 1,600 at the time; I wasn’t even close.) Consulting was a great fit for me because we communicate through PowerPoints, with bullets and large fonts.

That all changed in March 2020. After my first in-person leadership team meeting was hastily converted to a Zoom meeting, and I heard the term “social distancing” for the first time, I was moved to reflect and write on the experience. I posted my effort, “Creating Social Intimacy With the Distance,” on LinkedIn.

Somehow, it struck a chord with people, and it quickly got several thousand views, dozens of reposts and lots of affirming comments. I must admit, it was a heady experience. I then understood why people monitored their “likes” on social media. I wrote another piece; more positive feedback, and then another. Some colleagues even suggested that I should consider applying to Forbes to become a regular contributor.

Three years later, after 80—well, this makes 81—columns, I’ve said my piece; it’s time to transition to other things. This has made me reflective again. Turns out writing is a wonderful outlet to clarify your thinking, float ideas, and convey insights. And it’s also challenging, especially when you have to say everything succinctly, within a framework of 700 to 1,000 words. On the plus side, though, I found I could even take a little more risk than in a live meeting, since nobody argued back.

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