If you suspect things just aren’t clicking in your organization, your managers may be suffering from too much negative attention. Negative attention can reduce productivity and cost your company lots of money in the long run. Finding out what is causing this negative attention and reevaluating your organization’s processes around it can make all the difference between a focused and productive workforce and a distracted and bitter one
You know your company’s managers are capable of producing better work more often. What’s stopping them? All too often, they’re distracted by negative attention. This negative attention saps their will to work hard, as well as wasting money throughout your organization
In our national survey of 1,137 executives and managers, we found over one third of all attention comes from negative sources. These include having to pay attention to work that doesn’t really matter as well as to people and tasks your managers would just as well rather avoid. If organizations could somehow redirect their collective attention towards more positive sources of attention, they could potentially increase productivity by one third!
What does all that negative attention cost? A lot, especially if you’re in a big company. Just multiply that productivity gap times every employee serving under you, it can easily add up to millions of dollars in wasted salary alone! (No wonder most CEOs think their employees are overpaid – and we know how employees feel about the CEOs!)
Negative attention can be broken down into subcomponent sources of either people or tasks. As the chart illustrates, negative attention paid to people is negligible compared to tasks. People are a far more net positive influence on a person’s attention than tasks.
That should tell you something – it’s not your people by and large draining your company of the energy it needs to succeed, it’s all the stuff they have to do! Exercises that build “team spirit” are likely just a
waste of everyone’s time and your money, since everyone already pretty much likes each other. It’s the work they have to return to after the exercise is over that really depresses them.
So before you drag more of your best and brightest managers off to another “team building retreat,” think again about the work you’ve given them. Is it something they’re excited about? Something they can’t wait to dive into? Did you bother to ask? Why not?
If you work to build an organization that maximizes sources of positive attention such as these, you’ll have a happier, more loyal and ultimately more productive workforce in the long run.