August 2019 | Nano Tools | Innovation
Nano Tools for Leaders® are fast, effective leadership tools that you can learn and start using in less than 15 minutes — with the potential to significantly impact your success as a leader and the engagement and productivity of the people you lead.
Contributor: Stewart D. Friedman, PhD, Practice Professor Emeritus of Management at Wharton, Director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, and author of Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life.
Align your focus and attention on what really matters to you, so you can set more meaningful goals, optimize your performance, and increase satisfaction and performance in all areas of your life.
By looking closely at the different domains of your life — work, home, community, and self — you can clarify what’s important to you and see your life from a fresh perspective. Are you paying attention to what you care about most? Acting in ways that are consistent with the person you want to be? Going after goals that matter? And feeling happy with all the parts of your life, as well as life as a whole?
Completing the four-way attention chart below gives you a clear picture of how things stand today — and points out areas for change that could make life more meaningful and fulfilling. It shows how you manage the allocation of your time and energy and helps you determine whether you’re actually doing what you care about. This exercise is a crucial step forward in your thinking about experiments you might try to make things better in all parts of your life by creating more harmony among them.
This tool is designed to be customized by you, for you. So, keep in mind that your subjective judgment is all that matters. For instance, your involvement in community and society is whatever this means to you, and not what others hold as important to them. It may be about giving money to charity, helping your friends, cleaning up your neighborhood, getting involved in groups working to make the world a better place, or raising children that will be good citizens.
Focus of Attention
After completing the chart, Lim Chang, who manages the West Coast operations of a U.S. retail design firm, said he was surprised to discover he was not “being the person [he] really wanted to be.” He was spending much less energy on community and self, and “that was not my intuition going into the exercise. I started asking…what changes could I make to pay more attention to what mattered to me — and less to what didn’t….What was it that I was doing at work and home that made me feel good about what was happening there?” Chang then looked for new ways of using what he already knew about producing satisfaction in work and home to improve his community and self areas.
Victor was an IT director at a major bank and was a student in an Executive MBA program when he did the exercise. He determined that work and family were equally important to him. Personal fulfillment was less important than those domains, and community was even less so. But he was spending 65 percent of his energy and time on work and school and just 20 percent on his family. “The mismatch really bothers me,” he said. The exercise was a wake-up call, clarifying what is important and creating new insights into positive changes.
Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life, Stewart D. Friedman (Harvard Business Review Press, 2014). Provides tools to achieve “four-way wins” — improved performance in all domains of life: work, home, community, and self. Learn more at www.totalleadership.org.
Nano Tools for Leaders® was conceived and developed by Deb Giffen, MCC, director of Custom Programs at Wharton Executive Education. Nano Tools for Leaders® is a collaboration between joint sponsors Wharton Executive Education and Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management. This collaboration is led by Professors Michael Useem and John Paul MacDuffie.
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