JUNE 1989

If you find you're too busy to do the strategic planning your company needs, you might want to listen to Neal Patterson, chairman and CEO of Kansas City, Mo.-based Cerner Corp. It was when Cerner was doubling revenues about every 45 weeks that Patterson said, "Whoa, I need to preserve some time to think."

He now schedules a weekly two-hour session to "talk to himself." He prefers to do it early in the morning -- "when my mind is uncluttered" -- and away from the office, so he won't be interrupted.

"This isn't fill-in work between appointments," Patterson says, "yet that's how too many executives treat it. That can get a company in trouble."