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Interruption Management

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Focus or Distraction? - Interruption Management

I couldn’t help but be amused when I came across a Forbes article years ago on the dangers to a company when top executives are distracted by opportunities for “adulation.”

“Cancel That Cover Shoot”
by Dana Wechsler Linden, Forbes, January, 31, 2005

Forbes picked the Charles Schwab Corp. one year as the company of the year. Within two years the stock dropped to $7 from $30, and 35% of the employees were on the street.

Now two economists--Ulrike Malmendier of Stanford and Geoffrey Tate of Wharton--have gone beyond anecdotes. As specialists in "behavioral corporate finance," they studied the performance of more than 500 chief executives from 1975 to 2002. Half won media awards, such as best manager or entrepreneur of the year, and became pseudo-celebrities. The other half didn't win awards but had company performances and profiles remarkably similar to the ones who did.

Guess what? Celebrity leads to hubris--and lower returns for shareholders. Malmendier and Tate don't name names, but here's some of what they found:

* Return on assets at companies with "celebrity" executives deteriorated steadily for at least three years after a big award, while those without did consistently better than the superstars.

* Award-winners write more books than nonwinners--autobiographies, collections of self-help advice and homespun philosophy. Ghostwritten or not, they're distractions from the bottom line.

* The more awards chief executives win, the more likely they are to sit on three or more boards, leaving less time for their own directors.

None of this surprises Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, head of the Yale School of Management's Chief Executive Leadership Institute. "The truth is, people do get distracted. You can almost see them start to grow weary of the business and thrilled with the adulation."

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Less Sleep, More Interruptions - Interruption Management

Only 3 percent of professionals get eight hours of sleep every night of the working week. According to a Travelodge sleep study in 2012, company directors are the most sleep-deprived of all, with 8 per cent getting under four hours of rest per night.

The survey included more than 5,200 individuals from 30 different careers to discover more about how work affects rest. Those in the travel industry, such as cabin crew and pilots, found it hardest to get to sleep: 86% struggled with sleepless nights. Teachers were the most likely to stay awake because they were worrying about their work (39%). Here are the top 10 most sleep-deprived professions are:

* Company directors (averaging 5.9 hours of sleep a night)
* Ambulance crew/paramedics (6 hours)
* Tradesmen (6 hours)
* Leisure and hospitality workers (6 hours)
* Police officers (6.1 hours)

* Factory workers (6.2 hours)
* Nurses (6.3 hours)
* Engineers (6.3 hours)
* Doctors (6.4 hours)
* Civil servants (6.4 hours)

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Sunday, May 03, 2015

Avoid Automated Malarky - Interruption Management

How would you like to by-pass all the time-consuming, disruptive automated malarky we all endure when calling an organization, and instead go right to a human operator? The “Gethuman 500 database” is your dream come true!

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Friday, April 24, 2015

May We Delay You Further? - Interruption Management

With 17,000,000 Google hits for the phrase "thank you for your patience," it seems that legions of people are presuming an awful lot about others...

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Courtroom Theatrical Distractions? - Interruption Management

Courtroom attorneys are now employing forensic animation to illustrate to jury members in less than a minute what traditionally could have required days on end of experts, explanation, and testimony. Judges, meanwhile, are predisposed to allowing any evidence deemed reliable if it shortens the length of a trial.

While such costly and impactful forensics DVDs can aid in illuminating the facts in a case, there is an
inherent danger when lawyers act as “film” producers. By altering lighting, camera angles, color, or visual tone, the jury can be lead in one direction or completely in another. Should multi-million dollar courtroom cases be decided based on cinematics?

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Noise Distracts - Interruption Management

Fourteen years ago, the article “Noise Busters” by Richard and Joyce Wolkomir appeared in Smithsonian Magazine. From the authors:

“Nature quiet is now preserved in only 7% of Arizona’s Grand Canyon national park and nowhere in Hawaii’s volcano’s National Park.”

“Among city dwelling Americans, 87% are exposed to noise so loud it has the potential to degrade hearing capacity over time. But you will not necessarily find peace in the suburbs or country side either, not with the on slot of leaf blowers, snow blowers, lawn mowers, chain saws, snow mobiles, power boats, and all terrain vehicles.

“Researchers have demonstrated that noise can raise your blood pressure and change your blood chemistry… Adrenaline levels can rise, indicating the imposition of stress.”

Noise is unwanted sound, derived from the Latin word for nausea. In 1960 there were no leaf blowers, no jet skis, no car alarms, and few snowmobiles.

Noise on one side of the school has been shown to diminish some children’s test scores, compared with that of children on the other side of the school in a relatively noise-free zone, who otherwise have the same academic capabilities and demographic profile.

Do you want to do your best work? Get away from the noise.

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Monday, April 06, 2015

Text Now, Fail Later - Interruption Management

In a USA Today article: "As social media become nearly inescapable on college campuses, a pair of recently published studies supports what many professors already have concluded: Students using Facebook or text messaging during a lecture tend to do worse when quizzed later."

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Jeff Davidson - Expert at Managing Interruption Overload

contact author Jeff Davidson
Jeff Davidson: Bio

Managing Interruption Overload

Is the constant crushing burden of information and communication overload dragging you down, pulling you off course, and impeding your effectiveness? By the end of your workday, do you feel overworked, overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted? Would you like to be more focused, productive, and competitive, while remaining balanced and in control?

If you're continually facing too many interruptions and too many demands, you need Breathing Space.


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