Updated: Aug 14, 2020
Leaders succeed or fail based upon the things to which they give attention.
“Attention is focused mental engagement on a particular item of information. Items come into our awareness, we attend to a particular item, and then we decide whether to act.” (Davenport & Beck 2001, p. 20)
Everything in your sphere does not deserve equal attention. Leaders have a fixed amount of attention units,” to use in each day or week.
Use them wisely by focusing your time and energy on the things that really matter. 80% of the decisions you make don’t really matter. They don’t advance the company, develop the team, or contribute to your personal growth.
Ask yourself, “Is what I am spending a lot of time on today, going to have a material impact on the company in 2 years?” If yes, it’s in the 20% bracket. If no, it’s in the 80% bracket.
Great leaders know how to say no to requests for attention from above and below. This means that you must effectively advocate and shield/defend your team from directives from above that are not infused in sound wisdom. (i.e., “senseless" stuff; “busy" work).
Great leaders know how to turn up the heat to get others to focus their attention on the right things. This means that you must address complacency and underperformers. Leaders who turn up the heat increase production, demand excellence and get results.
Seek first to master a 20% attention unit quality and the other 80% will fall into line. Otherwise focus your attention on the 20% that generates the best outcomes!