A counterintuitive answer to your distractions!

Dear Leaders,

Wow we are already moving fast in the 4th quarter of 2017!!I truly hope you are in the pursuit of things that create more meaning to your lives and work.

Recently I was sharing my views in a forum which was defining the new order of leadership in a VUCA and SMACA driven world. Of all the wide range of discussions from climate change to terrorism to digital advancements and behaviors that leaders need to demonstrate in these circumstances, there was an interesting area which caught my attention and I decided to share my learnings and thoughts with you – It being, in a world where DISTRACTIONS overpower FOCUS, how should we global leaders overcome it? It seemed to be me that this was one thing which was under our control compared to some of the larger uncontrollable issues that we need to address as global leaders.Have you had the opportunity to think about how much more you can achieve if you had control over your distractions?

Let’s peel this further….

  1. Can I request you to take a few minutes and make a list of your top 15 distractions?
  2. Can I further request you to state the reason you consider it a distraction? In addition, what has the distraction costed you?

Let us keep this aside for the next few minutes while we try to get some answers.

  1. While coaching executives and leaders, I have observed some of them to be running behind packed schedules, keeping themselves too busy like no tomorrow. I have also heard the following statements from many of them- I do not feel that I have contributed anything meaningful anywhere. I feel less accomplished in spite of my busyness People often see me more irritated than my peers etc…Here is where I take the right opportunity to ask them, What is that one competitive advantage that you have, that is not visible to you but over which you have full control? Sometimes they get this answer right, sometimes I give it to them. It is – SILENCE. There is usually an awkward silence between me and the coachee while they are still trying to understand how silence can be a competitive advantage. Here I ask them, what does Silence mean to you in your daily cacophony of life? Well, please do take a few minutes to answer these questions for your selves.
  2.                                                                                                                                                                                                   For some For some of my coachees who are Analytics (People Styles), they love their two by two’s, for them.picture1                                       What my coachees have shared as results from these small activities are 1) It reduces multitasking 2) Increases their focus and most importantly 3)A discipline of getting things done. Quoting one of them, “I renounced my distractions and found the answers to my personal effectiveness. I often tell people in my team and others to never become too busy that forces them to figure out ways to be less busy” Are you still with me….are some of these things making sense?
  3.                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of the most important things I sometimes engage in with some of coachees is Role Playing. This is especially with some of them who are absolutely blind to their busyness. Here I ask them to invoke a Destroyer Character of their Choice and engage in small acts of destruction. I often see them giggle and look at me with some sarcasm (though I know they will shed it soon), these small acts of destruction like tearing paper and calling out what they want to let go, has actually increased their conviction and sustainability towards a less distracted and better focused individuals, who are free from the herd mentality of ever green busyness towards more meaningful pursuits in life and work.


There you go, building periods of  SILENCE / SOLITUDE is definitely a competitive advantage which you have at your disposal. Use it daily, else you cannot reap the benefits!!







Author: Sripriyaa - Director Innovation and Partnerships

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