The Pause Principle

The Pause Principle: Step Back to Lead Forward posits that pausing to gain fresh perspective and transcend immediacies is the key to leadership excellence in today’s complex, dynamic world. An antidote to our addiction to speed and transaction, pause is a conscious, intentional process of stepping back to reflect and deliberate, and then lead forward with greater clarity and impact. Rather than merely doing more, we must learn to pause and to do things differently in order to grow, achieve and innovate. In the book, Cashman provides the reader with real tools and practices to make pause a pragmatic practice of deep, reflective inquiry for focused problem-solving and for engendering creative insights. All of these practices lead to purposeful change, and contribution, an essential part of a leader’s everyday life.

“In our fast-paced, achieve-more-now culture, the loss of pause potential is epidemic,” writes Cashman. “If leaders today do not step back, to stop momentum, to gain perspective, to transcend the immediacies of life, and to accelerate their leadership, we will continue to crash economically, personally and collectively.”

Cashman’s work centers around one simple truth: that fast thinking is the domain of management transaction, while slow thinking is the leadership domain of strategic, innovative transformation. He believes every leader is on a journey from being a transaction-focused manager to an authentic leader that inspires real change. At the core of this transformation is the ability to pause. But for most, slowing down to drive performance is counter to instinct, especially when they have been rewarded for speed and action. But stepping forward to act, particularly in complex situations, without first stepping back for information, clarity, and connection to what is most important can be disastrous.

By learning when, why, and how to step back, leaders will gain their innate power to go to higher levels. Pause powers purposeful performance. With The Pause Principle, management speed and transaction can become leadership significance and transformation.

We live and lead in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world. But paradoxically, Kevin Cashman contends that leaders today must not merely act more quickly but pause more deeply. He details a catalytic process to guide you to step back in order to lead forward in three critical growth areas: personal leadership, development of others, and fostering of cultures of innovation. You and your organization will learn to move from management speed and transaction to leadership significance and transformation.

Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

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To thrive and to innovate in today’s complex, globally connected world, leaders need sophis­ticated ways to step back to understand what they are facing within and outside themselves. The Pause Principle provides pragmatic resources for making the critical move from man­agement efficiency to leadership excellence.

Daniel Vasella, MD

Chairman, Novartis

Effective leaders would do well to pause and absorb the wisdom that Cashman imparts in this profound book. The Pause Principle demonstrates why creative pauses are an absolutely essential ingredient for clearer, more innovative leadership in today’s increasingly dynamic, warp-speed world.

Paul A. Laudicina

Chairman and Managing Partner, AT Kearney, and author of Beating the Global Odds

Kevin Cashman’s latest must-read book focuses on the essence of leadership: being consciously reflective before we act. Incorporating Cashman’s ideas into your daily practices will transform you as a leader.

Bill George

Author of True North; Professor, Harvard Business School; and former Chairman and CEO, Medtronic

Leaders, like so many others, are suffering from hurry sickness—always going somewhere, never being anywhere. The Pause Principle is just the right prescription for slowing down, listening, and getting the clarity needed to lead in deep connection with vision and purpose.

Richard Leider

Founder and Chairman, The Inventure Group, and bestselling author of Repacking Your Bags and The Power of Purpose

The Pause Principle, by Kevin Cashman, Senior Partner at Korn Ferry, also focuses on the importance of stopping to think. Just for the record, Busy =忙, 忙=心+失, 心=heart & mind, 失=lose. So, “Busy” means “lose our heart and mind.

Kei Murauchi

Here a veteran coach shares his long experience to help busy executives deal with the question, In my rush for success, how do I help my soul to breathe and my mind to renew? His answer echoes an ancient tradition: withdraw and return; reflect and act. I recommend this book wholeheartedly to everyone who is trying to lead a better life.

Dick Bolles

Author of the bestselling career management book of all time, What Color Is Your Parachute?

Of the thousands writing leadership books, Kevin Cashman hits the mark. In their quest for speed and efficiency, many leaders fail to pause and ponder, losing perspective, performance capability, and the ability to sustain operations as a consequence. Cashman coaches leaders from madness to sanity, then to wisdom, wealth, and self-worth—the new triple bottom line.

Ken Shelton

CEO and Editor, Leadership Excellence

Leadership is a continual process of stepping back to get new perspectives in order to step forward with greater innovation and impact. Cashman captures the essence of leading in our dynamic, global marketplace.

Paul Walsh

CEO, Diageo plc, and former Chairman and CEO, The Pillsbury Company

Cashman has cut through the leadership clutter and found the essence of elevating leadership excellence: pause to perform, pause to be on purpose, pause to innovate. It has freed me to make better decisions, push boundaries further, and be more present to myself and with my team.

Dr. Deborah Dunsire

CEO, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company

Leave it to Kevin Cashman to challenge us to stop…to dig deeper for purpose and relational connection, to journey beyond the limits of the known to the unknown, to bring more of our leadership potential forward. If you think pause is for the fainthearted, think again. Pause is for the brave-hearted, fearless, most innovative leaders.

Karen Kimsey-House

Cofounder and CEO, The Coaches Training Institute, and coauthor of Co-Active Coaching

As we’ve come to expect, Kevin Cashman has once again given us a fresh new way of looking at leadership. In this particular case, he’s produced a primer on the principle of ‘pause.’ And more than just telling us why it matters, Cashman clearly shows us how we can apply this powerful and effective tool to help move our organizations forward.

David Shadovitz

Editor and Publisher, Human Resource Executive

Leadership is tough, but with Cashman’s The Pause Principle, you can make it a lot easier and more impactful. Get this book to sort through the leadership smog with clarity, purpose, and innovation!

Michael Paxton

Chairman, Transport America, and former CEO, Chamilia and Häagen Dazs

Grab this book, pull up a chair, and spend some quality time you deserve with one of the best executive coaches out there today. Kevin Cashman’s The Pause Principle delivers the wisdom we all need in this crazy, fast-paced world. You’ll find your time with Cashman reaffirming, energizing, and rewarding.

Kevin D. Wilde

Chief Learning Officer, General Mills, and author of Dancing with the Talent Stars