Distracted At Work? Dealing With Corporate Attention Deficit Disorder

By Aaron Dodd, Director

We’ve all seen it.

We know those that have it. You may even be afflicted yourself.

Corporate Attention Deficit Disorder (CADD) is rife in the modern workplace, among individuals and the organizations themselves.

But don’t worry, there are strategies to manage it.

What is Corporate Attention Deficit Disorder (CADD)?

In its simplest form CADD can be seen in those who flit from one task (or corporate fad) to another. They won’t finish it or implement it fully before moving on to the next thing.

The digital revolution has seen a massive increase in CADD in the workplace, as professionals attempt to keep up with the rapidly changing corporate landscape.

Individuals with CADD exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Easily distracted
  • Miss details
  • Forgetful
  • Frequently switch from one activity to another
  • Quick to jump onto the latest fad
  • Have difficulty maintaining focus on one task
  • Bored with a task after only a few minutes
  • Fidgety and restless in meetings
  • Constantly checking their digital devices (likely sufferers of FOMO – fear of missing out)
  • VERY impatient!

Organizations with CADD

CADD will have its most damaging impact if the CEO and/or other executives suffer from it.

Long term strategies are suddenly thrown out in favour of the latest fad, technology offering, or buzzword.

The enterprise suffers, as employees play catch up to the latest campaign message or strategy. Often, there is little attention paid to the relevance of the latest initiative, nor any benefit gained from its implementation.

There is no better cure for corporate attention deficit disorder than a good dose of strategy.” Nick Cowling, HuffPost 

So what’s the cure?

The cure is simple: plan your work and work your plan.

Don’t get caught up in the latest this or that. Just because there’s something new on the market, it doesn’t mean it’s relevant to your organization, audience, or business plan.

Strategy is the basis for everything in business. Recruitment, communications, sales… everything. As Simon Sinek famously advised, “start with why.” And ask yourself that question every time something new comes along.

Why is this useful? Why is this relevant? Why is this worth the time? Why is this beneficial? Why, why, why, why, why.

Your why is the only narrative you must stick to.

Bottom line is, your innovations will have much more impact and much less risk if you build them with your narrative in mind and continue to deliver on why you exist and what you believe.” Nick Cowling, HuffPost 

Don’t get distracted. If you see a colleague going off track, intervene and get them back on the right path. Source outside counsel. Get some perspective.

And if you are a CEO who has CADD, realise the implications it has on your staff. They’ll become rapidly disengaged. The constant change of direction will decrease motivation and productivity.

If you’re choosing a new course, understand and communicate why you’re doing so. Be strategic when making your moves. Spend time to make them work and measure their success. THEN, and only then, should you start to make new ones.

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