Imbalances exist in where people put their attention. We asked people where they spent too much or too little attention during their workday, and found people often focus on things that can distract from the goal at hand. To get everyone back on the same page, organizations need to look at what’s driving their people crazy, and what could stand a little more attention.
Attention is scarce in today’s business world. But where is too much or too little attention currently paid? We asked 1,137 executives and managers and found their attention is too focused on the customer and internal politics and not enough on vision.
Given the frequency with which organizations are told to focus on the customer, it’s no surprise that 82% of those we surveyed felt the customer got too much attention. But isn’t the customer is always right? Maybe not, if that distracts from what could add value.
Next on the “too much” list were the people you manage and coworkers. This constant struggle to deal with the people we spend the most time around clearly seems to be keeping top leaders from things they’d much rather focus on.
At the same time, there are areas in which people clearly feel they don’t spend enough time concentrating. Top in that category was getting
rewarded. This isn’t salary (though it’s always nice), but rather being recognized for one’s contributions.
Next were concerns that not enough attention is paid to those at the higher levels of the organization. This correlates with too much attention being siphoned away by one’s coworkers and team members. If that takes up most of one’s attention, honoring the vision of those at the top is clearly going to suffer.
Organizations need focus more on their leaders’ vision and less on the petty squabbles around them. They should also slightly deemphasize the customer. Though customers are certainly important, if they are elevated too high they can distract people past the point of no return. Finally, organizations could stand to reward their people better – not necessarily with pay, but with an acknowledgement that they helped the organization in its time of need.