Monthly Archives: January 2019


Is Arrogance Professional Suicide? 1

I’ve worked with many confident people and, as is true with other Type A’s, I’ve had the occasion to clash with some of them. There were times when it was about agreement on performance metrics; other times it was a matter of how to get things done. With respect to the latter, I have come to learn how to step back and avoid battles about how tasks are executed, particularly if there’s a track record of success. I’d characterize my philosophy as “if it’s ethical, legal, and moral, I’ll usually tolerate the errant behavior IF the results are there.”  So, substance trumps style (though, in sales, style is often a key contributor to success.)

 

Steve Jobs

But what about the world at large? Will most people tolerate arrogance in the workplace? Consider Steve Jobs. He had all kinds of failure in his life, but he was driven by an incredible self-belief that transcended those circumstances. That drive had an impact on those around him. I ran Macworld for several years and was well aware of the fear within Apple that Jobs produced. Yet, the success of most of Apple’s products is directly attributable to his vision and his dogged determination to fulfill that vision.

 

Now that Jobs is gone, people are free to analyze his legacy, both for the brilliance of his ideas and the harsh ways he treated some of the people around him. Does his product legacy excuse his arrogance? Probably yes, since he changed many of the markets with his products (iPhone, Apple 2, iPod, iTunes, etc.) Perhaps he had personal regrets at the end, but he certainly was a game changer.

 

But what about mere mortals like the rest of us? Can we get away with arrogance? Perhaps. But you had better be extremely good at what you do, as the “fall’ is precipitous if you’re not.

 

And people have very long memories….


Whose Attention is the New Currency?

The more attention you can commit to things, the more value you will derive. Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of awareness; attention spans are now shorter than ever and paying attention is a challenge. With the many information inputs available, people are easily distracted in ways that interfere with the focus needed to understand what they are seeing.

 

What’s the impact? You are making decisions with ‘shallower’ information than before. Thus, the chance of making a bad decision is proportionately greater.

 

Let’s look at this “attention economy” differently: as a way to create competitive advantage. How about this? I challenge you to find ways to devote more attention to the things that are important, assuming you can distinguish between what’s important and what’s not. That means avoiding the often guilty pleasure of distractions. A complementary skill would be to train yourself to focus on a fewer number of things. That could mean you are spending less time overall, but a getting the bonus of making better decisions.

 

How do you put yourself in such a ‘resource-rich’ position?

 

Put away the phone, turn off internet access, and do something in disconnected mode. Change things up by finding opportunities to do things in completely different ways. Maybe it’s having a business meeting outside while walking around the block or your office campus. Or perhaps it’s reading a book that has nothing to do with your day to day work activities, but gives you a perspective that extends beyond the here and now. Meditate. Find ways to force yourself to pay attention to (or think about) something without distractions for 5, 10, or 15 minutes.

 

Try it for a week and see if your attention span is longer and, as a result, your understanding is deeper. Having done some of these things myself, I’ve certainly seen huge improvement…..

 

Extra Credit articles on the Attention Economy:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/attention-is-the-new-currency_us_58ef947ee4b04cae050dc526

https://www.cuinsight.com/attention-is-our-new-currency-pay-attention-to-what-matters-most.html

https://www.hrchitects.net/attention-new-currency/