Our Intention Focuses Our Attention

Our Intention Focuses Our Attention

Every second of every day we are subject to thousands upon thousands of pieces of information hitting our senses. Our eyes see everything in their sphere of vision, near, far, in front of us, off to the side, out of the corner of our eye. Our ears hear everything, loud, quiet, near and far. High pitch, deep rumbles, everything. And so it goes on for smell and taste and for all that we touch.

What’s interesting is that in this rich soup of available information the human brain focuses on processing a limited number! First approximately 138 and then a further refinement down to  7+/-2 per second per second. That’s still a lot of information!

How and why is this important?

In simple terms, where we place our intention, focuses our attention, in other words what gets through to our brains both informs our map of the world in our heads and provides us with the data to make decisions.

Our ‘map of the world’, what do we mean by this? It’s our internal representation of the world we live in, we’ve taken the information, processed it to make sense of it, and settled on that’s how it is! It’s the reason why two people could go to a football match, watch the same game and broadly come away with the same outcome but have two totally different views on what they experienced. I suppose that may depend on which team they were supporting and the result!

Coming back to making decisions, our actions are dependent on what information we have considered important and relevant, because as our intention focuses our attention, we will not notice or pay attention to all other information. An example of this would be two people out for a walk. One’s intention although going out for a walk for some exercise is important, is intent on catching up with what friends have been up to, they spend time during the walk going through their social media, probably making sure that they keep going in the right direction, avoid tripping or falling over etc. The other person’s intention is to take in as much of their surroundings as they can during their walk. They spend time looking around the fields, watching out for birds and searching out those beautiful wild flowers they suspect are out there somewhere.

Once we are aware that it is us who decides intention, we can be more choiceful with our attention.

The next time someone is speaking to us, it may be worthwhile asking ourselves what’s our intention here, are we fully present in the conversation? Next time we are out, what are we possibly not noticing, that we could be if we choice to be wantonly curious? How much more can we enrich our own model of the world?

Servant Leadership

We are in the global marketplace, where the constant challenge is how you do more for less and quicker than you have done before, where customer expectation is fuelled by the power of immediate knowledge gained through the internet.

Our biggest challenge is not just to grow our businesses, but to hold onto the customers we currently have. We must not just meet their expectations or even surpass them. We must understand and meet their unknown future needs to generate demand for our product or service.
It is easier to understand what to change when you are leading the change. Its much more difficult to convince others of the need to change when you are following or catching someone else up, because often, as you draw alongside, they unveil the next new product or offer a more competitive way of delivering a service.

Paternalistically-structured organisations cannot and will not survive. Why? Because the fundamental principles on which they are built no longer exist.
Change takes place at enormous pace, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL9Wu2kWwSY , driven by technology and our ever-increasing expectation of what is possible. Whether you work in banking or in manufacturing, retail or service provision, public or private sector; what we do and the way we are doing it changes constantly.

Paternalistic organisations make decisions at the top. What they do, when & where they do it, & how they do it…and all theoretically for the benefit of the follower, for the customer who is being told what they can have, when and where they can get it & what they have to do to have it! And it worked for that period in time when both the individual and society both expected and accepted being ‘told’.

In the same way that, as consumers, we recognise we have become empowered; so we also seek empowerment in the workplace. Universally accepted is the understanding that money is only a short-term motivator, what we actually seek is fulfilment, to have purpose, be involved and to belong. Stephen Covey refers to these as “universal principles that have governed, and always will govern, all enduring success, especially those principles that give ‘air’ and ‘life’ and creative power to the human spirit that produces value in markets, organizations, families, and, most significantly, individual’s lives.” http://www.greenleaf.org/whatissl/StephenCovey.html

In order to facilitate that purpose, generate fulfilment; the way in which we lead has to be different and organisations need to be different, they need to be flexible, to be able to not simply react to customers, but to understand them and work with them. To do just that, organisations and leaders within those organisations have to recognise and engage, to trust and empower those that work for them. Coaching, not instructing; facilitating and nurturing, encouraging and developing their people. Servant leadership begins with the true personal motivation to serve others, to have shared goals and to encourage and support self-management. Ask yourself, ‘what else can I do to best support my team to do their job to the best of their ability?’

Servant Leadership is a principle, a value, and one that, when honoured, delivers results and relationships far beyond peoples’ expectations. Those who act as Servant Leaders will achieve disproportionately more and are and will be recognised as doing so for the betterment of the many.