TRANSFORMING MID-LEVEL PROFESSIONALS INTO CONFIDENT COMMUNICATORS AND LEADERS

Complex Challenges need our best Thinking – stop wasting it on your phone!
Published 24 January 2020
Over the last few years I have been noticing a growing pattern in behaviour amongst the leaders that I work with.

When the thinking gets really challenging, the conversations really difficult or the problem really complex, leaders are increasingly reaching for their phones to deal with the next “urgent” thing instead of pushing through the discomfort of the challenge in the moment.

In an individual moment this is not such a big deal. That’s where we started. But now we find ourselves so very connected with the demands coming through our devices, that each time we use our device to put out a fire, as leaders we get a great big dopamine boost in our brains, it feels fantastic to be able to solve stuff on the fly! And that dopamine boost feels so much better than the cortisol-inducing moment of stress created when we don’t know the answers in a difficult moment. When we consistently reach for the quick fix instead, even if we are not aware of doing so, we make it more likely that next time stuff gets hard, we’ll do the easy in front of us instead.

The added kicker from a brain perspective is that these complex challenges really do need our best thinking and communication. And that’s a very precious commodity indeed.

The more often we get distracted by the urgent in a day,

  • the harder it is for us to think deeply,
  • the longer it takes our brains to understand the challenge again,
  • the poorer our problem solving capacity and conversational skills and
  • the more exhausted we feel by the end of the day!

Many of us struggle with this challenge of the brain already, playing out in procrastination at our desks! But with our mobile devices this form of procrastinating difficult thinking is so much more dangerous, because it feels so good to fix something in the moment. I hear the story a lot that “I hate that I’m always on”, and yet there’s a part of our brains that loves it, and without awareness to those small choices we are making, we create habits of reacting in the moment rather than diving in to challenges. We waste our best thinking on the urgent demands in front of us, and we make it more difficult to really contribute in the thoughtful, considered ways our work most needs of us.

It’s not something that I can give you a quick fix on, and it’s true, sometimes that individual moment does need to distract us! But I do challenge you to pay attention over the coming week to the ways in which you use your device.

Are you really needed right now, or does the challenge in front of you need you and your focused brain’s attention more?
Complex Challenges need our best Thinking – stop wasting it on your phone!
Published 24 January 2020
Over the last few years I have been noticing a growing pattern in behaviour amongst the leaders that I work with.

When the thinking gets really challenging, the conversations really difficult or the problem really complex, leaders are increasingly reaching for their phones to deal with the next “urgent” thing instead of pushing through the discomfort of the challenge in the moment.

In an individual moment this is not such a big deal. That’s where we started. But now we find ourselves so very connected with the demands coming through our devices, that each time we use our device to put out a fire, as leaders we get a great big dopamine boost in our brains, it feels fantastic to be able to solve stuff on the fly! And that dopamine boost feels so much better than the cortisol-inducing moment of stress created when we don’t know the answers in a difficult moment. When we consistently reach for the quick fix instead, even if we are not aware of doing so, we make it more likely that next time stuff gets hard, we’ll do the easy in front of us instead.

The added kicker from a brain perspective is that these complex challenges really do need our best thinking and communication. And that’s a very precious commodity indeed.

The more often we get distracted by the urgent in a day,

  • the harder it is for us to think deeply,
  • the longer it takes our brains to understand the challenge again,
  • the poorer our problem solving capacity and conversational skills and
  • the more exhausted we feel by the end of the day!

Many of us struggle with this challenge of the brain already, playing out in procrastination at our desks! But with our mobile devices this form of procrastinating difficult thinking is so much more dangerous, because it feels so good to fix something in the moment. I hear the story a lot that “I hate that I’m always on”, and yet there’s a part of our brains that loves it, and without awareness to those small choices we are making, we create habits of reacting in the moment rather than diving in to challenges. We waste our best thinking on the urgent demands in front of us, and we make it more difficult to really contribute in the thoughtful, considered ways our work most needs of us.

It’s not something that I can give you a quick fix on, and it’s true, sometimes that individual moment does need to distract us! But I do challenge you to pay attention over the coming week to the ways in which you use your device.

Are you really needed right now, or does the challenge in front of you need you and your focused brain’s attention more?