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Defeat Distraction. Master Leadership Focus. (#98)

The Confident Leader

The pace of business is excruciating. Gone are the days that a daily task list could be fully completed. Leaders think multi-tasking is the key. But many report getting lost when moving from one thing to the next. With so much commanding their attention, how can leaders create effective leadership focus?

Knowledge applied to one thing insures best results. 
— Carrie Marcus (co-founder of Neiman Marcus)

This Week’s Edition

We define Leadership Focus as the personal discipline necessary to: 

  • Know your priorities on a weekly basis,

  • Allocate dedicated time to each priority accordingly and

  • Get back on track by reestablishing your attention after being distracted

Clarify Your Thinking

Chris, a top sales leader said, “Robin, I’m spinning. 30% of my team has resigned. I’ve got to onboard four new leaders. I’m 22% behind in my revenue for the quarter.” 

“Is that all?” I asked with a little smile.

“I know, right? Also, my son just graduated and is heading off to college and my family wants to take a two-week vacation in Italy.”

“That’s a lot. How are you managing that?” I asked.

“Not well. Even though I’m a master at multi-tasking, I’m highly distracted. When I’m with my family I’m thinking about work. When I’m working, I’m thinking about how I’m dropping the ball with my family.”

“How’s that impacting you?” 

“I’m finding it hard to know what to focus on and when to focus on it,” Chris offered with a sigh.

Chris is not alone. Daily leaders are presented with a myriad of distractions: the flow of emails, social media, phone notifications, friends & family, meetings and repetitive work.  

They think the solution is multitasking, but studies show that those who multi-task experience a decline in IQ score equivalent to being under the influence or having pulled an all-nighter. This leaves them less empathetic and with lower emotional control.

In this type of leadership environment, seeds of doubt begin to grow. “Can I even lead this team? Even if I can, is this what I want to do?” 

Old Thinking: I used to multitask and get it all done, but I’m not able to keep all the plates spinning. What’s wrong with my leadership?

New Thinking: I’ve got to figure out my priorities and focus on what’s most important, even in this fluid environment. I don’t know how, but I can find out and skill up.

Thoughts Lead to Actions

The current leadership environment is fast paced, fluid and roiling with challenges. Leaders report that:

  • 64% have too many conflicting priorities

  • 81% believe their growth initiatives lead to waste

  • As their priority list grows the company revenue declines

The key to sustainability, let alone success, is Leadership Focus. An individual is experiencing Leadership Focus when they define priorities, dedicate time and a get-back-on-track. 

Think about these three steps to regain your focus, execute on your priorities, and create a more sustainable approach to your leadership. 

  1. Focus on the priorities

  1. Focus on one thing at a time

    • Keep the appointment to reflect on the priority

    • Be fully present – brain and body in the same place at the same time

  1. Focus on getting back on track

    • Use a visual cue like a planner to keep track of your priorities

    • Use an auditory cue like a timer to take regular breaks to breathe and reestablish your focus (i.e., Pomodoro Method)

    • Use a cue to give yourself grace when things out of your control throw you off

In her Leadership Thinking Time, Chris slowed her leadership game long enough to realize she had three meetings she didn’t need to attend. She delegated and reclaimed three hours per week. This coupled with the Productivity Planner created better prioritization and effectiveness.

Boost Your Performance

In this week’s video, discover how Carrie Marcus, co-founder of Neiman Marcus, used Leadership Focus to make Neiman’s a retail powerhouse.

What’s Your Opinion?

What is your pro tip for staying focused? Share with me at:

Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

If this was helpful, feel free to share it with another leader who needs to defeat doubt and complete their confidence.

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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.

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