Dr. Henry Cloud | September 19, 2019
Today a countless amount of distractions will fight for your attention. They will come in the form of urgent and even good, but their subtle ability to pull you away from your main priorities prove that they can be the silent thief of success.
In this video, Dr. Henry Cloud says every leader is aiming to take people from point A to point Z, but not every leader succeeds in doing so. What does he say is the major distinguishing factor in those who succeed in fulfilling their vision? Their ability to focus their attention on their few, important priorities.
As a leader, you are a steward of your own attention, and responsible for creating space for your team to fully focus on matters relating to the team’s mission. Watch the clip below to see Dr. Henry Cloud walk you through the steps of how to best focus your attention and lean into your unique identity as a leader.
Prefer to read rather than watch? Here’s the transcript to Dr. Henry Cloud’s talk:
As a leader, here's what's going to be true. You are going to get in your teams, in your organization, in the culture of your ministries and organizations, you are going to basically get what you either create or you allow. What you're finding out there, if the morale is good, and if the energy is good, and the foreign movement is good, and the culture is good, that's because you're either creating that to happen or you're allowing it to happen, and if it's bad it's the same thing. A leader is a steward over what's been in charged to them or charged to them, and they are to steward that, and as I said in the book, they are ridiculously in charge of that. Meaning that, God has put leaders ... Now, I don't mean hyper-control. We'll look at that in a minute. I mean that we have to own it.
What we're finding in our cultures, and in our teams, and all of that, you as the leader are not a victim to that. You're ridiculously in charge of that. We have to look at how we're creating it or how we are allowing it. I'm going to give you a handful of ways that we need to do that. The first one is by creating the boundary of focused attention, by creating the boundary of focused attention, and going through the growth step that it takes to do that, you will create and allow good things in the wake of your leadership. Now, let me tell you what this means. Focused attention is a phrase that comes from neuroscience. Here's what we know about the brain. Your brain is designed by God with this thing called the upper brain, it's the prefrontal cortex, and it is designed to basically in life, the whole thing is designed to move things from A to Z.
When you're here, and you have a vision, and you have a goal, your brain is designed to move that goal forward. To move it from A to Z. Now, here's a question. If all leaders are doing the same thing, they're moving a goal forward, they're seeing a vision, engaging talent, executing a plan, holding people accountable, fixing what they find, everybody's doing that. Whether it's mom getting the kids ready for school to go out the door by 8:00, or it's the CEO, or a senior pastor, that's what all leaders do. They have a vision, engage talent, execute a plan, hold people accountable, fix what they find, and that's how they get there. Now, if that's true, why is it that some leaders get great results and others don't? Why is that if they're all doing the same thing? Well, the first reason is leaders that get great results, get great results because they're leading people in ways that the people's brains can follow them by creating focused attention.
Here's what this means. Your brain, to get from A to Z, if you're going to drive your car from here to 711, your brain has got to do three things in order to do that. Number one, it's got to attend to what is relevant to get there. It's got to attend to what is relevant. Your speed, just a few things. Your speed, your lane, the turn that's coming in front of you, it's got to attend and focus to just a few things. Second thing it's got to do is it's got to inhibit everything else. You cannot text while you drive. That is a ... I'll say it this way. The concept of multitasking, I know this is going to bug a lot of you, but there's so much science behind this. The concept of multitasking is an absolute 100% joke. There is no such thing. Okay. Let me prove it to you. Turn to the person next to you and start singing Mary Had a Little Lamb. Okay, go. Louder. Okay.
Now, while you're singing that, what I'm going to do is I'm going to give you some numbers, and what I want you to do is anybody that can recite these numbers back to me you're going to get a free book. 6016364920 are the numbers. 601636 ... Okay, now stop. How many of you when I started saying the number, something about a free book, how many of you turned from Mary Had a Little Lamb? Did you feel that? Why? Because your brain cannot attend to more than one thing at a time. You have multiple projects going on and you switch back and forth. You multi-switch, you do not multi-attend, okay? Now, here's what's going on with leaders. Leaders are asking people and themselves to text while they drive, because they'll have the main thing, "This is what we're going to push, and this is our vision, and this is our plan, and this is our short-term goal, or whatever that is that we're going to attend to. We have the onsite and we have the meeting, and we're going to do this."
Then the very next day they're bombarding their people with emails that have just as much importance as what we went away and had a retreat about. Then the next day we have something else. What we know about leaders that get results is they don't do that. Leaders that get results help themselves and their people understand, "What is it we are going to attend to? What are we about? We're going to do this and we're going to inhibit everything else that gets in the way of that, and that's who we are." It's only a few things. God has called you to good works that you are a workmanship created for those good works, not a thousand good works. That doesn't mean you don't have a lot of ministries going on, but you as an identity of a leader, God has created you and you've got to know what you are about.