Distracted by Shiny Objects

This week I swear I’m so distracted by shiny objects you’d think I was a raccoon.
Maybe it’s the epidemic of overwhelm at work or perhaps the amount of data I’m trying to process each day, but it just seems I’m more and more susceptible to the distractions that technology has made so omnipresent in my life. It also struck me that we’re all probably paying a price for diversions.

Too often it seems I’m so busy chasing the shiny objects that it puts me at risk for losing sight of what’s really important. Or, even when I’m disciplined enough to ignore some of the distractions or the administrivia, it still cuts into the amount of time I dedicate to work that requires more intense thinking and a single focus.

Also, I find there’s a limit to the amount of attention I can focus at a deep level each day, so I’m worried that I’m not directing enough energy to the really big questions that have to do with change – both personal and work-related.

My guess is that I’m not alone in thinking that. It seems that in today’s knowledge economy, there are significant issues that need to be addressed and questions we need to answer. However, that’s not going to happen unless we’re able to ignore the shiny distractions and focus.

In many ways, it is the perfect time to do more to envision how businesses, social profits and governments can work together to deal with this onslaught of information and the reality of technology and its impact.

Part of that will be figuring out how we can do more to move from a low risk mentality to one of calculated risk, from tradition to innovation, from hierarchical leadership to one that is more shared or distributed, from short term reaction to long term vision, from a strictly local perspective to a more global outlook.
Integral to that will be figuring out how to get over our need for order and structure and get better at living with the reality of chaos. And of course none of that is going to happen without first ensuring we have leaders who have the ability to drive change that results in positive impact.

That being said, it isn’t a choice for the faint of heart if we really are serious about addressing such issues in our communities as the rising costs of physical inactivity, obesity and chronic disease, an aging population, declining civic engagement, the need for environmental protection, the reduced capacity of the social-profit sector, improved economic activity etc. etc.

The challenge is that it will require a lot of courage. Why courage? Perhaps because there really are only two options and one of them is really hard.

The first and most common choice is simply to maintain the status quo. I’m seeing a lot of that. After all, it used to be a pretty safe strategy. Many businesses, government departments, and social profits are so intimidated and overwhelmed by the potential options and changes that need to be made to ensure they are positioned for the future that they are simply staying put and hunkering down to protect their turf. While it may not take a lot of courage, that’s not to say they aren’t working hard.  After all, it takes a lot of energy to chase all of those shiny objects. 

The second choice? The other option is to be brave about accepting that there is a need for wide-scale, messy, systemic change.

Easy to say but how do we make that happen?

Maybe it’s not as difficult as it first appears. It begins with stepping away from our computers and moving toward building relationships.

None of the change we want to see in our businesses, communities, or governments is going to happen without first having trusted relationships with diverse individuals and their respective networks. That can begin with something as simple as reaching out to one individual for a cup of coffee and a conversation.

Posted on 07-24-11


Great blog!  I’m all for one-to-one relationship building and I love that cup of coffee.  We all do live very busy lives so it always comes down to what values and priorities drive how we manage that time… thanks Brenda!

•Posted by Janet Naclia  on  07/25/11  at  08:33 AM

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