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Leadership

Professional Attention Deficit Disorder

By | Career Guidance, Leadership | No Comments

foIn the manufacturing economy, time was the currency. Systems were designed for maximum efficiency, and effectiveness was simply how much time could be dedicated to the process. The assembly line is a perfect example! In today’s information environment, directing our attention in the right places for the right amount of time and focus is the key to effectiveness.

Curious if you suffer from Professional ADD? If you have already been distracted at some point during the first paragraph, no assessment is necessary!

  • You are frequently distracted from your current activity, by others, or by your own lack of focus
  • You finish your day and are surprised how little you actually accomplished despite the fact that you felt “busy” all day
  • You have a to-do list of important items but always seem to be distracted with more “urgent” activities
  • You find it difficult to fully focus on another person without thinking of other matters
  • You check and respond to your email, text messages, instant messages, etc. constantly
  • You feel a sense of “information overload” frequently
  • You think you are a great multi-tasker
  • You are addicted to urgency and pride yourself on being the best “fire fighter”
  • You love being in the “zone” but are frustrated by how infrequently you truly find yourself in that place of maximum effectiveness

If you checked the box to most of these then you may be suffering from Corporate Attention Deficit Disorder. The good news is that it is curable, and you can fill your own prescription.

Create Golden Hours

Establish certain times each day when no one can distract you or each other. The only distractions or interruptions should be emergencies; educate your environment when it is best to get with you by phone or in person for activities that are not both urgent and critical.

Loosen your Electronic Leash

At least four times per day, set 45-minute time blocks where email, instant messages, and any other electronic distractions are turned off. Each time block should be dedicated to fully focusing on a specific activity that you have predetermined for that time. Very rarely is anything so urgent and critical that it cannot wait for a reply within an hour; you may even find that issues solve themselves without you having to.

Prioritize Long-Term Projects

Make a list of all your current important projects that are not urgent. Now, assign at least two one-hour slots a week to do them. Keep these appointments with yourself the same way that you would with a client; do not allow yourself to book anything during those times unless it is a true emergency. If you don’t begin to do some of the strategic work now, when will you? An attic is easier cleaned a few boxes a week rather than the entire attic in a weekend.

Minimize Multi-tasking

There are some times when multi-tasking and bouncing from one activity to the next is both unavoidable and necessary. However, the majority of periods you find yourself busy, multi-tasking, and rushed are self-created and counter-productive in the long run. Practice being fully present and engage in one activity at a time. If someone stops by your office while you are typing an email, ask them to send you an email to schedule a meeting so that you can truly focus on their needs when it is mutually convenient.

Create Blocks of Similar Activities

A doctor does not check emails in the middle of surgery, and a lawyer is not accepting incoming calls while the opposing counsel is grilling his client. What makes the critical responsibilities of your role less deserving of your own concentration? We all like diversity and variety but do your best to plan activities in such a way that complementary activities can be done in groups for maximum effectiveness.

Find the Right Work/Life Balance

Just as your time at work should have focus and intensity in each activity, so should your time away from work. Being fully present in all your interactions includes those outside of work. When you find your mind drifting to work related activities while with friends or family, remind yourself to focus back on the people or activity at hand.

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Good Leadership Can Help You Overcome the Challenges of Onboarding

By | Hiring Strategies, Leadership | No Comments

Retention of high-quality, motivated professionals is essential for an organization’s success. This is particularly true for C-level support. High turnover adds to expenses and can lower the morale of the entire company. It’s important to develop the full range of competencies needed to successfully onboard new talent and establish them in your organization. Here are some helpful tips on how solid leadership will help overcome the challenges of onboarding and improve overall retention.

Communication Challenges

A prominent challenge many leaders experience is making assumptions about expectations without actually communicating them directly. While intuition can be an important part of success, it can never be a substitute for clear communication. During the onboarding process, leaders need to speak with new employees often to learn what they need to feel comfortable. Most new employees want to set goals and milestones. Onboarding is a good time to set expectations so they have a clear sense of direction from the start. Talk with new employees regularly to learn about their career goals, current objectives and help them develop a plan. Search consultants can support managers with appropriate questions to ask as they understand the concerns of new hires as well as client companies and can align intentions to a mutually beneficial outcome.

Expectation Challenges

Another important issue for transitioning new hires is time management. Often managers who are new to onboarding think it’s a one-week process. Many new leaders grow frustrated because the process requires more time than they expected. A search consultant can help establish some guidelines for the process. They can make sure both parties understand what to expect from onboarding and training. Even the most qualified candidates will require thoughtful training and communication. They have an entire organization to become acquainted with.

Onboarding Tips

An effective onboarding process often takes several months to a year. In the first 90 days, the goal should be to make the new hire comfortable, while establishing clear expectations and ensuring that everyone understands objectives. An executive should have a 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day meeting with their new employee to review goals and share feedback in addition to daily action items and priorities. Our search firm offers a post-placement program where we meet with the leader and new hire on a monthly cycle, through some of the most difficult challenges and then move to a 9-month and 12-month check-in. The goal of the meeting is to exchange feedback and foster a connection and sense of shared accomplishment.

Good leadership and direct communication will enable a thoughtful and effective onboarding process ensuring your new employee is established in a timely manner and can begin meeting the goals and priorities you set together. Providing clear communication and immaculate guidelines are essential keys to a smooth onboarding process. Once an employee trusts you and feels supported, they’re much more likely to be productive and stay loyal to the organization.

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