I can see him now, arched over his fist; stark rollicking naked; tight, curly locks and a deep sense of discovery in his stoney eyes. The ‘Thinker’ is a bronze and marble sculpture by Auguste Rodin, held in the Musée Rodin, in Paris. It depicts a man in sober meditation battling with a powerful
internal struggle.

Sadly, according to Bob Woodward’s latest book ‘State of Denial’ (A 2005/6 summary of the Whitehouse and its journey through Iraq) the ‘Thinkers’ didn’t plan the Iraq war too well, or at least didn’t give it the due consideration it deserved. Far from me to be critical but Cheney and Rumsfield always looked a bit sus to me when it came to dropping your brain into gear before you slipped your foot into your mouth. Not that the war itself didn’t have a plan – it did. What seemed to have been missing was an exit strategy. You know, the ‘let’s get the hell out of here routine’. Vietnam might have given them a clue, and according to Woodward, old man George (GH) wasn’t too keen on the idea of charging in to paint glasses and a beard on Saddam’s loony pictures. But they did it anyway and oh what a lovely war we’re all having.

Knowing that Americans are not great when it comes to respecting culture in far off lands, I was prepared to acknowledge that Rodin’s great work might not be well known and as such ‘Thinking’ wasn’t one of their stronger points. Imagine how forlorn I became when I discovered that those hot dog lovin, hombres have their very own replica of the naked sage at Philosophy Hall, Columbia University. So now we’ve run out of excuses.

But wait, lest you be the one without sin whose likely to chuck the first boulder. Are we not guilty too? We’ve discovered that less than 20% of small businesses have a business plan and only 9% of small business has a marketing strategy. And they are all hoping to win the war and walk away with the good oil. If by now your getting a trifle squirmy or even snuggling into a cocoon of denial – stop! Take a deep breath, head for a place of solitude; strip off and take the pose – become a thinker and don’t worry about the bad press. Thinkers aren’t stinkers when it comes to winning the war, in politics or business. You can’t just say ‘we’ll fly over there and drop a few bombs here and there and frighten the crap out of them’, you have to have a plan – to go in and to get out.

Today you have an opportunity to ‘think’ your way through – to embrace the important and not the urgent to make a statement loud and clear that you will not confuse activity with accomplishment. If you ain’t got a strategy you can expect to be between Iraq and a hard place.