Can we See What is Right in Front of Us?
by Kevin D. Crone
In a culture of distraction, most of it self-imposed, we struggle to see what’s right in front of us. I was at a Blue Jay baseball game with my son, sitting next to some people who all had their heads down fiddling with their devices while the most exciting play of the game happened. Not one of them saw it! At the airport I watched two young parents intensely engaged with their devices while their three young kids were bouncing off the walls. Again, they weren’t paying attention to those who were craving it.
What’s going on?
I rush to my iPad first thing in the morning. I carry my iPhone around like it is the only thing that matters. I’m digitally overloaded. Wouldn’t you agree, we’re seduced by distraction? Not one of my grand kids can watch television or for that matter, do much else with complete focus. “That’s how I watch TV Papa”, says one of them when I point out they’ve had their iPhone in their hand during the whole show.
Yet our gaze is coveted by so many. In a land of interruption, why do we give it away so carelessly? All this super-charged distraction takes a serious toll on our mental and physical health. We’ve failed to see the subtle problem for us just for the convenience of being connected. Instead, we keep saying “yes” to our beeps and the whines of every tweet, text, email and, unconsciously, “no” to something else – often something important like the person we’re talking to when the beep occurred.
If he were still here, my Dad would have given me a little cuff on the back of the head if I put my head down to read an email while talking to others in front of him. He would have thought I was rude. Focusing on our wants is normal. Focusing on what is important to our business success is how you get there. When there is a commitment behind the search, we create momentum, not just become overloaded with too much information.
Authenticity, which is listening to your own thoughts, what occurs to you after you receive information, is the key to letting you know what is next in your quest for success, not copying others or forming opinions without much thought behind them. Most people scan information and form lots of opinions that sometimes are out of context to where the receiver is in their careers, business commitments or life. Of course, it is interesting and fun to learn just for the sake of learning. I call that recreational learning.
In our world of over-receiving information can we get lost in the fascination of the tool and forget that we need to focus?
We aren’t on the beach or in university. We are in a real world of real-time business. Our effectiveness still depends on how we impact our customers, associates and whether we are heard in the board room.
Do we lose that important distinction? Do we realize that only 15% of our success depends on our knowledge and up to 85% depends on our ability to deal with people and our attitudes? Can we see what’s right in front of us?
For example, are we using our devices to find out what trends our customers are going through and what their problems and issues are? How about creating a mailbox on your iPad for that title? Or how about this one… What can you offer your clients to help them compete?
If you do these things, you’re learning with a commitment attached and with an important purpose to help you and your business succeed. Or we stay with our self-absorbed, super-charged distracted life! Technology was to make our life work better.
Here are some more questions to consider:
- How come we know less about our customers and our associates?
- Why are sales harder?
- Why is it that employee engagement is at an all time low?
- Why is leadership such a hot topic… Is it our self-absorption?
It seems we have more information but we don’t focus on others and what’s important. Are we really here to entertain our employees or ourselves? Everyone seems to have ADD today with the unbelievable flow of information. We have to get everyone’s attention to be heard.
I suggest we get sincerely interested in others. That we find out what others want and help them get it and, if we do that, we will be heard and appreciated and will be less distracted and more focused on what is important.
As a mentor, I take these messages to you seriously. Don’t get lost. Stay focused on what is important and what works in business.
What occurred to you this morning?
Kevin D. Crone
Dale Carnegie Business Group
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