The uprisings in the Middle East have captured our attention for some time. The current humanitarian crisis in Libya is dire and has been the focus of most news outlets…as it should be. The tragic earthquake, tsunami and subsequent destruction throughout norther Japan has been an absolute travesty. The suffering and loss in that region is truly saddening. We have had 24/7 doses of up to the minute reporting on everything happening there.

The thing strangely missing from the news is the ongoing Libyan crisis. The people of Libya are still being bombed and murdered by their government. The problem hasn’t gotten smaller or less significant. It has just found its way down the ever so fickle news cycle. The media flits from one disaster to the next whether there was any resolution to any of the previous tragedies or not.

How often do we do this in our leadership? How many times do we have a problem come on our radar and before we can get things sorted, we are faced with another challenge. It’s like we get ADD and just move to the newest and shiniest thing. Meanwhile all of Rome is burning. We lose credibility with our peers and those we’re leading.

What can we do? The problems don’t consult our calendars and show up when it’s best for us. As a matter of fact, they seem to show up at the worst possible time. Kind of like Randy Quaid showing up in his trailer in the movie Christmas Vacation.

Here are some tips to respond well to those problems that are painfully reminiscent of the smelly, beer guzzling cousin.

  • Prioritize – Problems will always be a part of life, business and leadership. All problems need attention, just to a different degree. What are the values of your organization? Let them guide you as you prioritize. For example: Would you put a money problem above a person if your values were to honor those in your organization?
  • Delegate – Be honest enough with yourself to admit that you can’t sort everything out on your own. Even if you could sort it all out, show those around you how much trust you have in them by giving them the opportunity to source solutions to problems. It not only shows trust, but develops them professionally and personally. There’s a lot to be said about building the confidence of those around you.
  • Be realistic – We have a tendency to overstate or sensationalize problems. They become these inflated monsters that we imagine to be much larger than they really are. Write down the facts without embellishing on the possibilities.
  • Chunk down the solution – Treat dealing with the problem as you would any project. Work your project management mojo on it. Break it down into smaller chunks and assign relationships to these tasks. Make it a project like you would anything else. Fit that chunked down solution into your strategy just like you would any other project.

How have you overcome Leadership Attention Deficit Disorder?

  • Steve G

    Leadership Advisor –

    Amazing analogy to demonstrate your point! And I couldn’t agree more.

    In leadership, I have found that we tend to make everything a Priority – every initiative (new and old) has the same level of priority and need the same level of attention. I believe it is just humanly impossible to have everything a priority. (I remember saying…”Not Everything Is A Damn Crisis!) When you spread yourself and your team’s attention on too many initiatives, priorities, etc, I believe you run the risk of developing an attitude of “Compliant But Not Committed” among team members.

    As you point out, the company’s vision should dictate Priorities and Focus.

    I often ask myself, is it a lack of discipline and focus or a lack of vision that makes an organization roll out new initiatives after new initiatives…isn’t there something wrong with that strategy? Is business changing that fast? Or is the company reacting to the situation instead of being out in front of it?

    Good Post Leadership Advisor – Looking forward to the Next!

    SPGonz

  • Absolutely Steve. When leadership runs around like their hair is on fire when any and every problem comes along, the team begins to become laissez-faire about every problem. Kind of like crying wolf in may respects.

    Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comments my friend!

    Cheers,
    William