One of the things that I have noticed in business is that many people struggle to concentrate and focus, and many leaders are actually creating an environment where it is difficult to concentrate and focus. With the advent of information technologies we have become more connected and more fast paced. We are available 24 hours day and we spend a large portion of our day bouncing from meeting to meeting or responding to thousands of emails that clog up our inbox.
React, respond, and close out an action. That’s how we run business nowadays. It’s all about showing that I am on top of my game; I am responsive; and that I am a hard worker.
If I am busy and working long hours, and responding to everyone then I am safe. Forget outcomes; customer service; making a difference or generating value as that’s not important right. What’s important is that when you sent me that email at 11 pm at night I came back quickly and was across all my stuff. Phew I passed that test – let’s hope I survive till the next test.
Or I need you do something, so I will send you an email with a due date. Doesn’t matter if it is a priority, if you have time or if it adds value, as long as I am crossing it off my list. Your time is not important and besides I really don’t want to call you to discuss and agree if it is a priority or if you have capacity as I don’t like confrontation and you may challenge me. Easy to just drop you an email and leave for you to push back; and then I will complain that you are not co-operative.
Some people have become so wired this way that when you sit down to build a new program, plan or approach they are completely inept to think ahead. Show me what to do and I will do it. Send me an email and I will respond. Book a catch up and I will attend. But don’t ask me to plan; develop; build; prepare or align.
What is getting lost is debate; learning; inquiry; reflection; brainstorming and the ability to question our assumptions. We are losing the ability to plan, prepare; analyse; strategize and visualise. Further we are losing the ability to build shared understanding; shared purpose; and a shared commitment. We are becoming robots and losing the great human ability of innovation through shared learning and engagement.