Clarifying Intention To Focus Attention


Yesterday, still groggy after a long flight to the west coast and a fitful sleep because of the time change, I dragged myself to the hotel gym when I woke up at 4 a.m. and plunked my half-awake body on the elliptical, punched in 30 minutes, and hit start.

Good for me, right?

Not really.  Unless simply showing up and putting in some time was my intention.  Yes, getting up and doing exercise was better than not doing that, but merely showing up is rarely the right definition of success (see Gallup, employee engagement).

Fortunately that realization came to me about five minutes into my workout as I was thinking about my 49th birthday on Friday (no gifts; just send cash; LOL), my ever-declining metabolism, and the less than healthy airport meal I had for lunch.

I jacked up the intensity level on the elliptical and started doing interval training, short bursts of difficult resistance followed by brief periods of rest.  Now I was truly working out, burning more calories, challenging my muscles, ramping up my heart rate … all of which were confirmed by the dashboard metrics the elliptical displayed.

It's too easy to just show up, to go through the motions, to confuse lots of busyness with doing good business.  In my recent keynote for the Avectra SWAT conference, I discussed how we must clarify our intention in order to focus our attention on what matters most.

I'm increasingly convinced that what plagues many individuals and organizations is not an Attention Deficit Disorder.  Instead of being afflicted with A.D.D., in reality we suffer from I.D.D., an Intention Deficit Disorder.  And that results in a lot of people doing a lot of work that doesn't necessarily produce the desired results.

Here's my simple prescription that might cure of this ailment at either the individual or organizational level:  Before you get in action … make sure you've focused your attention … on what matters most given your intention.