Are you paid to think?

Erikjan Lantink
3 min readFeb 3, 2023

“I don’t pay you to think; I pay you to execute.” — Old School CEO.

Earlier in my career, I spent four years in a company where that was the culture early on.

I was on an expat assignment abroad, and part of my responsibilities was helping design en deliver interventions that would change the culture.

The old-school CEO was no longer with the company, but his wake was still there.

Taking responsibility for your emotional wake is forever since then one of my credos in life.

Telling people to execute and not to think is telling a human being that they don’t matter.

Imagine someone telling you you don’t matter.

Perhaps not flat out in your face while looking in your eyes, but indirectly.

I can tell you that nobody would tell you that flat out in your face because people who think this way are emotionally underdeveloped and cowards.


Every time someone interrupts you, this person is basically telling you that you don’t matter.

Your words, thoughts, ideas, perspective, objections, and even your approval, don’t matter.

If they did, they wouldn’t interrupt you.

And every time you interrupt someone, the same applies.

Your providing the receiver with the feeling, perhaps not consciously, but definitely unconsciously, that this person doesn’t matter.


You might think I’m tempted to say yes, but I’m not.

That’s how firm I am about this.

Interrupting is disrespectful and indicates to the other person you don’t value their opinion.

That they don’t matter.

It also tells the other person you’re not a good listener.

That’s where the problem starts.

Because those people who don’t listen well are often also not open to feedback on their impact on others.



Erikjan Lantink

Business & Leadership coach. Interim Leader. Writer. Speaker. Former Retail Executive (general management; operations; HR)