After winning the village archery contest, the young champion challenged an old man in the crowd, who had been the reigning champion for many years. After the young champion hit the distant bullseye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot, he said to the old man, “See if you can match that!”
The elderly champion did not draw his bow. Instead, he invited the young archer to follow him up the mountain. Curious about what the old fellow had in mind; the archer followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a long log. Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the now unsteady bridge, the old master picked a faraway tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit.
“Now it’s your turn,” he said as he stepped off the log.
Staring into the seemingly bottomless abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target. “You have much skill with your bow,” the old man said, “but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot.”
Talent and skill can bring us recognition and rewards, yet it is a disciplined and focused mind that enables us to overcome distraction, build trust, and master an art.
Enjoy your February news2use and strive to master your art!
“Relevant & pragmatic ideas, tools and insights to play at your best.”
Focused or distracted, how would others describe the way you work?
Being distracted means you cannot or will not manage yourself or the environment around you. And if distraction is getting the best of you, it has huge implications regarding creativity, feeling satisfied, and being recognized as a strong contributor.
Focus, on the other hand, is being able to practice disciplined concentration on one activity for an extended period of time, without being distracted.
We don’t have to look far for the single most disruptive force to our precious concentration. Too many people have gradually traded smart focus for smart phone disruption; on average, people pick up their phones 58 times a day, and half the time people do this during working hours.
Don’t try to convince me or yourself you are saving the company, closing the sale, or some other heroic action by these frequent actions.
Here are five game changers to help you lead a focused, instead of a distracted life.
- Clarify your three large goals for the week, and three activities at the beginning of each day.
- Manage your technology; turn off your phone, store it out of sight during your concentration periods and turn off notifications on your computer or workstation.
- Block specific periods of time in your calendar for your C.W.P. (concentrated work period) and start with two or three blocks of 45-60 minutes.
- Get vigilant regarding the meetings you lead or attend, seek to reduce the time for meetings, and challenge meeting mavens who want your time by insisting on agendas for any meeting you attend.
- Take regular breaks and get outside, when possible. Go by yourself or with a colleague and practice taking these walk talks without your phone.
Remember that practice won’t make you perfect, but it will help you progress. Be patient with yourself and focus on this topic until you feel and see improvements.
For You & Your Team
Trust in your business, in your brand, and in your organizational culture is everything to success. Yet business leaders greatly overestimate the trust they think they enjoy with customers and their employees according to a recent study by PwC.
87% of executives think consumers have a high level of trust in their businesses, yet only 30% of consumers say they do. 84% of business leaders say employee trust is high, compared to 69% of employees.
In this recent NORENBERG’S NINETY SECONDS, discover what this hard-working CEO learned when you don’t take ownership to build trust with those around you; and how to realign this capability for meaningful results.
For You, Your Team & Your Business
It’s the start of a new year, covid is fading into the background, and a significant number of executive teams are exploring whether it’s the right time for them to restructure their organizations, due to ever-changing market conditions.
I listen to their reasoning, the pros and cons, and the initial ideas that come forth. Then I ask, “You are considering an organization restructure – when was the last time you restructured, or reconfigured your executive team?
After getting some surprising looks from executives, I share the following:
“The core of your business is the executive team, this is the organizational unit that controls the company resources, makes decisions that determine your strategic direction and the way you interact with each other sets the performance DNA for everyone else.
The reality is that too many organizational restructures are more about accommodating legacies and protecting people and their positions rather than creating a high-performance organization.
How do you expect people across the organization to buy-in to your restructuring initiatives if you have not first considered and practiced restructuring ideas for your executive team?”
If your executive or strategic leadership team is starting to discuss an organization restructure before considering an executive team restructure, let’s have a discussion.
How do you and your leadership team ensure that you are doing what’s right for the business and your customers, instead of taking care of yourselves?
People, Places & Technology
Frances Hesselbein, former CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA passed away at her home this past December. She was 107 years old.
Ms Hesselbein’s leadership approach was considered out of step with traditional top-down, command and control leadership style, when she accepted the senior role in 1976. Described by Dr Marshall Goldsmith as mission focused, she was able to recognize the past and open the door of possibility through her “Tradition with a Future” mission.
Her reputation and results as an innovative leader led the late great Peter F. Drucker to say that she would be a worthy successor to then retiring Roger Smith as chief executive of General Motors, because of her ability to turn around a large bureaucracy.
Leading with a strong conviction that diversity and inclusivity were the rule, not the exception, she was a highly effective transformational leader in part because she never put down or insulted the past while encouraging people to embrace the future.
Ms Hesselbein‘s celebration of life ceremony will take place on February 4 at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City. For more details, please go to this invitation.
Thought for the Day
― Max Messmer