Saturday, January 4, 2014

Organizational Attention Deficit Disorder - Sources and Solutions

*Organizational Attention Deficit Disorder is an organization’s inability to focus on the critical few, accepting any and all projects as worthy of priority #1 effort, resulting in employee burnout and organizational ineffectiveness.   
 As I continue to analyze this complex but growing issue, I want to drill down on some of the key sources of the problem. Here are a few examples:

  1. The introduction of new IT systems for manufacturing, finance, HR, and operations cause much disruption in organizations, resulting in confusion and disorder.
  2. The development and distribution of policies, programs, processes and practices from any and all teams without a coordinative center cause confusing among middle managers trying to implement ... everything that is sent to them!
  3. The immense amount of change happening in any organization at one time is a major source of OADD.
  4. Management changes cause disruption, since people are uncertain about what priorities will matter to a new leader.  
  5. Organizational restructuring causes disruption, since people will focus on their next job rather than the work at hand.
  6. Executive teams are sometimes 'at odds' with one another, creating uncertainty in the ranks.  People wonder 'who will come out on top' in a organizational battle for dominance (yes, it happens ...) and thus play a 'wait-and-see' game.  
Solutions: Knowing where we're going.
  1. Early analysis is the key to a long-term strategy.  Shoot-from-the-hip strategies often fail and cause chaos in organizations. 
  2. Providing clear direction is the key to organizational focus. The opposite is also true.
  3. Air-traffic controller activities are a mandatory exercise.  The collision of conflicting organizational strategies is dangerous. 
  4. Hard-edged decision making assumes some feathers will be ruffled, but the organizational battle cannot be won with infighting.  
  5. Especially in the midst of organizational change, executives play the role of gatekeeper and decision maker to ensure employee clarity.
Over the long haul, employees and team members learn how the organization manages OADD.  We will always be distracted by something - a new technology, a new Federal requirement, a new competitor, but showing employees long term focus on the critical few sets a stage for achievement and success. Team members want to know that their hard work will result in achievement of the goal.

Managing Organizational Attention Deficit Disorder

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