Energy follows Attention

There are certain recurring themes when it comes to individual or collective leadership and in particular to its success or failure. Fascinatingly – but hardly coincidentally – they are topics that you find in a similar form in your general life.

One of them revolves around two questions which, in my opinion, have potential:

  • Question one: What are you focusing your attention on?
  • Question two: How free are you internally to decide what you want to focus your attention on?

The answer to question one determines what essentially shapes your feelings, thoughts and actions, because there you decide who and what is allowed to use the VIP entrance to your perceptual apparatus. In view of the fact that the amount of data that pours into us per second is roughly equivalent to reading five hundred and fifty times "Alice in Wonderland", it is easy to see that perception is also a selection process. Under LSD it's much less, but that's no solution.

So, if I have to choose, I think I'll be wise enough to choose something that is especially important and relevant.

This is exactly what people who observe you will assume, and in a leadership position you will be observed very closely.

You send strong signals simply by the fact that you are talking about a certain topic and not about other topics. The staff will deduce from this what is important to you. So, if you talk only about business figures in a townhall meeting, you should not complain if voices are raised that you are only interested in money. Sometimes it is worthwhile to spell out things – even repeatedly – instead of simply assuming them. In our private lives we know the classics: "Do you still love me? "But I already told you that! "Yes, twelve years ago..."...

It is extremely important that dimensions such as values, meaningfulness, ethos, passion and appreciation are also a topic in everyday business life. Otherwise they lose their meaning. For the same reason, it is important not to regard change processes as completed too early and to draw attention away from them, because then the momentum dies.

Question two has a big influence on the answer to question one: How consciously or unconsciously do your decisions come about to focus your attention on certain things? What do you jump at? What gets cultural attention in your company?

It is helpful to know one's own patterns and reflexes in this regard and to reduce the blind spots associated with it. This in turn reduces the risk of skilled manipulators capturing your attention because they know exactly how to get you. Wizards and pickpockets make their living from it, and it's not just on stage.

What we don't see disappears from our perception. Or, as Donella Meadows puts it in her very readable book "Thinking in Systems": "No one can define or measure values of any kind. But if nobody defends them, if systems are not designed to produce them, if we don't talk about them and address their presence or absence, they will cease to exist."

You have an essential hand in determining the color of reality. Energy follows attention. Seize the opportunity and don't let wizards and pickpockets fool you.

focus and determinationzoom