Clarify Intention To Focus Attention


Recently, still groggy after a long flight to Europe 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 ever-declining metabolism and the less than healthy meal I had on the plane.

I jacked up the intensity level on the elliptical and started doing high intensity interval training (HIIT), 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 many of my keynotes and workshops I discuss how we must clarify our intention in order to focus our attention on what matters most.  Leaders who can do this in (and for) their organizations help ensure a more effective use of resources.

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 focus your attention … on what matters most given your intention.

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