Stop and think? What, are you kidding me? Who has time to stop and think? It seems to go against every ounce of human nature to slow down just when everything and everyone is telling you to speed up. If that is what you believe, then I feel you need to stop and think because when the bullets are flying and the waves are crashing is precisely the time you need to do it.

What do I mean by a stop and think? When I was the CEO for Cap Gemini Ernst & Young in South East Asia, I had the honor of being the adviser to the Singapore Prime Ministers Office and the Ministry of Defense on innovation. Singapore was reeling from a series of severe after shocks including September 11th, SARS, the bursting of the bubble and a serious recession. In an effort to devise a means to train thousands of people on how to survive and thrive the 21st century I created a game called Boiler Room® (the name metaphorically representing a high temperature, high-pressure environment). During the intensely humorous and challenging sixty-minute game, I devised a rule that became quite useful. In the midst of all the chaos the team is racing against time to stay alive, fight off evil terrorists and accomplish a series of intense missions to save the nation. The rule was called Stop and Think: Anytime during the game the team could stop the clock and take a five minute time out, share their experiences, assess the situation and regroup.

The interesting part of this story is that after watching thousands of teams play, hardly anyone took advantage of it! In fact, it does seem to go against every ounce of human nature. Except for the battle weary leaders who understand the necessity of such a move, that is.

Robert Maricich, President and CEO of Century Furniture who shared his story on air as one of my CNN radio guests on my program, Global Evolution™, hammers my point home.

Robert is a great good leader and his company, based in North Carolina, was fighting to survive against the low cost furniture providers from Asia. All around North Carolina furniture companies were dropping like flies as two in three failed to make it. I will never forget what Robert said, “When you’re in a hole the most important thing is to stop digging.” Stop digging? Yes, stop, freeze, get the leadership team together and take a time out. What Century Furniture realized was that they could not compete at the low end of the furniture spectrum. Instead, a group of talented people led by great leader evaluated their greatest assets and shifted their market strategy by using their skilled craftsman to focus on creating high end, custom furniture. The results were highly successful. Click here to listen to the full interview.

Just when you think you cannot afford to stop racing around - when sales are dropping, cash flow is hurting, the share prices is swinging widely - is precisely the time to stop and take a time out.

Now in case your thinking the worst is over or this too shall quickly pass, it will not. The challenges and convergences of crises we are facing are not going to be short. We are likely almost at the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end is many years away, perhaps a decade. Why do I say this and more importantly, why should you believe me?

Back in April 2008 I wrote an article entitled Calling Superman and Yoda: Why the World Must Change. I wrote about the Essence of Change, one of my seven Laws of Essence® that states that all matter is constantly seeking a higher state of evolution and growth and change does not come without friction. This is a natural law. The problem however, is that the greater the resistance to change the greater the separation between opposing forces and the more painful the process becomes. Witness the current presidential election. This is all happening because we have many great convergences taking place in the world and a lot of people are struggling with all their energy to either ignore or resist the changes. These people are living in a world of “Great Misconceptions and Illusions”. What are the Great Misconceptions? Visit my website at for the complete article.

If you are wondering what I mean by the great convergences, in June of this year I wrote an article entitled Unprecedented Convergences Creating Systemic Crises. In that article I asked the following questions: How many people do you know who are facing bankruptcy? Have had their property foreclosed on? Are at risk of losing their job or have seen their retirement reduced by 50 percent? Whatever you answered back then I am sure the figures have increased dramatically only a mere four months later. As I said, I was barely scratching the surface then. What is going on here and how did we get into such a mess? Visit my website at for the complete article to listen to my radio show on this topic.

The bottom line is this; we are experiencing a natural cycle of change and evolution where the excesses and decay of values is going through a correction. The excesses were large and the corrections will be large. If you understand the unprecedented convergences and if you understand how to stop and think, you might just fare better.

Author's Bio: 

In 1977, JD was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy by the U.S. Secretary of the Navy and was one of 37 Distinguished Graduates. He subsequently pursued postgraduate work in nuclear physics, electrical engineering, metallurgy and chemistry. He was a decorated nuclear engineer and qualified submarine officer in the United States Navy submarine fleet and served on three submarines during the Cold War.

In 1985, JD began his corporate career with Exxon Corporation where he joined as Distribution Manager. In ten years, he was promoted nine times and completed numerous operational line management positions in sales, marketing, distribution, supply, pricing, safety, crisis management and reengineering. As the national reengineering manager for Exxon USA, he reduced operating expenses by $50 million and reduced working capital by $150 million in twelve months. As a crisis leader, he successfully managed an 850-person team and a fleet of 125 ships and aircraft, cleaning over 1,000 miles of Alaskan shoreline after the Valdez oil spill.

In 1995, JD joined Ernst & Young LLP (U.S) and became a partner managing global supply chain, outsourcing and systems implementations projects for clients such as Royal Dutch Shell, Phillips Petroleum, Exxon Mobil, Engen Oil, the Singapore Ministry of Defence, the Singapore Prime Minister, Maybank and Wal-Mart. In 1998 he moved to Singapore and as the director of the energy, chemical and utilities industry sector, growing the business twenty fold in two years.

He then became the CEO for Ernst & Young Consulting Singapore and in 2000, after the Cap Gemini acquisition, JD was appointed CEO of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young (South-East Asia) where he was responsible for all IT and management consulting services. In this capacity, he served as a key adviser for innovation for the Singapore Prime Ministers Office as well as numerous national statutory boards and government ministries in Singapore, Malaysia and China. After September 11, 2001 JD became a senior adviser to the Singapore Ministry of Defense on innovation and helped design and develop adaptive response capabilities.

In January 2003, JD founded the Essence group of companies which provide informational, educational and entertaining offerings to accelerate personal, corporate and global evolution. A renowned speaker, JD has presented and spoken to tens of thousands of people on preparing for the unexpected, developing an adaptive organization, outsourcing, shared services and how to develop creative, flexible and innovative teams to solve complex national or corporate challenges. He has been featured in such major publications as the Business Times, New Straits Times, and Far East Economic Journal. He has presented live on CNBC Asia "Power Chiefs" special, global Discovery Channel and numerous times on Channel News Asia, including a special show where he was featured as the “IT Person of the Week”. JD is a gifted creator, inventor, published writer and has created, produced and hosted his own television and radio shows and invented a series of internationally successful leadership games. Currently JD is the host of Global Evolution, which airs on CNN Radio News in 50 states and over 100 countries.