Have you ever attended the Indiana State Fair? Go on the last day when the weather is perfect. Naturally, thousands of people pour into the gates from every direction. The Midway is packed full as you inch along. On both sides of this walkway, the barkers are shouting their services and wares. With each step, there is a different shouted message as booths on both sides make themselves known. From a stimulus perspective, it is as humanly saturating as it is overwhelming to assess what is going on. Focusing is simply impossible; all you do is push ahead with the crowd.
Saturation exists in this fast paced world; everyone has ADD. ADD stands for “all data dumped”. You are so stimulated by everything from voice mail to internet devices that you miss truly important information; or you simply forget something based on volume. Many of you get more than 10 calls a day, review hundreds of e-mails each and every week, and have Twitter and Facebook minimized. It is a wonder you do not implode from all this information. Leadership and organizations are greatly affected by this increased overload of stimuli.
You can hunt for five minutes looking for an e-mail from two weeks ago. You read the first couple of lines in a long-winded memo before you delete it forever. You find yourself texting and tweeting more. You learn to like short and sweet. Your professional life is a constant 140 characters plus spaces.
Looking back just a few decades ago, when there were no cell phones and computers, you could tolerate and manage stimulus. If stress was a term back then, it wasn’t used much. Information overload came from a party-line or from kids on the porch and in the backyard. Things were uncomplicated. You could drive to the office and back with both hands on the wheel, rather than one on the wheel and one on a cell phone.
For sales leaders today, the answer is a straightforward. Assess both your schedule and your calendar and slow things down to speed things up! Delegate and collaborate when you can do so. Team decisions and time management go hand-in-hand. Focus on the single message in front of you and not the volume. You can honestly and effectively lead and coach in 140 characters. Try it! Managing the ADD is now your leadership and sales secret!
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Photo Credit: Andrew Schmidt