The rain beats down as you’re driving along. You unconsciously look at the raindrops for a half-second, deciding in your sub-conscious whether to turn on your wipers. It’s all so automatic. You decide to put them on delay mode and dial them in – all with hardly a smidgen of conscious attention. But in this small fraction of a second, you look at the raindrops instead of the road.
That’s the way focus works – events take your mind to the small and away from the situation at large, usually without your conscious realization of what happened.
Apply this to your dealings as a manager and leader. Where do you “naturally” focus your attention? Is it on what’s going wrong? Does solving problems all day long feel like an accomplishment? Or, have you been distracted away from the strategic picture by your unconscious focus–shifts?
Assess this in a simple way – set an alarm on your phone for every 15 minutes. When it goes off, ask yourself if your focus is where is should be, then refocus yourself as needed. Try this for two or three hours to get a picture of how your focus works – on target or unconsciously shifting.
Leaders and managers need to stay on top of the big picture; focus on that… consciously!