The ability to multitask has always been held in high regard, but now, I think the ability to focus should be held even higher.
We talk with more than just a little pride about how busy we are. About how many meetings we have and how we are double- and triple-booked. Our attention is divided, even fractionalized. The biggest enabler and culprit is our all-knowing smartphone. It buzzes and we answer it. If a phone buzzes in a meeting, everyone checks to see if it was theirs. And, if it hasn’t buzzed in a while, we check it – just to make sure.
A new year brings new goals and your gender may impact your goal success. Leadership IQ conducted an international goal-setting study of 4,690 individuals: 2,506 women and 2,184 men. We studied factors including emotional connection, visualization, urgency and levels of challenge and found some specific differences in how men and women approach and achieve their goals. The study objective was not to create gender stereotypes, but rather to find the small, but consistent gender differences that may be just the boost both genders need when faced with challenging goals.
The following are four of the study’s key findings and some techniques both genders can apply to increase their goal-setting strengths:
In your book Crazy Is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags, you mention that everyone needs to act like an entrepreneur, including employees at large companies. How do you take smart risks without risking it all?
Our companies, our jobs are no longer stable and secure. To survive, we need the skills to continually reinvent ourselves. So, yes, everyone needs to think and act like an entrepreneur. Whether you work at a Fortune 500 company, a nonprofit, or a mom-and-pop, you need to take risks today or risk being left behind. But how do you know which risks to take?
The image of the swashbuckling entrepreneur gets it all wrong. The best entrepreneurs are not risk maximizers; they are risk minimizers. They don’t bet the farm or max out their credit cards. Two thirds of Inc. 500 companies were started with initial investments of under $10,000. Today, crowd funding platforms have made this goal easier. As for entrepreneurs working in large companies, a key to minimizing risk is to build support for your ideas first from below, occasionally working in stealth mode, rather than rush to put a PowerPoint in front of the boss. That’s how successful innovation happened at companies like Clorox, Pfizer and MTV.