Monday, October 29, 2018

The Upside of Ignorance

Prioritization management is both art and science. The art is to know when to pay attention and when to ignore. 

With overwhelming growth of information and continuous digital disruptions, today’s companies are so easy to get distracted, very often say yes to all the initiatives, sometimes get burn out and overloaded with short-term business concerns, cause ineffectiveness for the long run. Besides paying enough attention to the critical issues, today’s digital leaders and professionals should also learn how to “ignore” in order to focus on the most important things, for achieving the long-term goals and prosperity.

Ignore trivial details: Today’s digital leaders and professionals need to avoid the trap of micromanagement and they do not want to lose the sight of the big picture or decelerate the speed of changes. A micromanager will overemphasize the 'how' over the 'what' and ‘why,’ and will be laser focused on minutiae to the detriment of the overall outcome. Micromanagement generally has a negative connotation. It means the managers put too tight control on their employees or team or insignificant details, more worried about some routines, not laser focus on the top priority. it perhaps causes more damage than benefit. Thus, ignoring trivial details is important for leaders to stay focus on top prioritized issues without getting distracted or inundated with overloaded information. A diagnostic view helps the business management to zoom into the significant details for fixing the problems really matter, and making continuous improvement.

Ignore conventional wisdom: Often at the society with traditional culture, it usually considers conventional to be wise, and unconventional to be unwise. But in the digital society with abundant information, open culture, conventional wisdom has a negative connotation about sticking to the outdated concepts or knowledge, old traditions, cultures, or the old ways to do things. People’s perceptions reflect their thinking capacity. You can only know what you know, but there are more dimensions which you don’t know. Outdated perception is like time glue that keeps you still. Thus, to keep thinking fresh and lead forward, sometimes you need to ignore the conventional wisdom, break down silo thinking, challenge “we always do things like that” mentality, having the willingness to let go of past learning. Digital leaders and professionals today should learn how to see things differently and do things alternatively. Keep learning and adapt thinking out of the box, make plans, but be dynamic to make an adjustment, and lead innovatively.

Ignore the negative (destructive) criticism: The leaders can actively learn to better improve self through requested criticism. There are constructive criticisms and negative (destructive) criticisms. Criticism comes from a well-wisher with good intention is often"constructive," you need to seriously "consider" it, become more self-aware and fuel professional progress and personal growth. However, negative criticism from a wong person via unprofessional manners such as backbiting or rumor-mongering, are often destructive, you need to “ignore” it, and concentrate on things matter to you, sow the positivity seeds, and build the professional competency. Treat the feedback as information and perception, but you have the choice what story you put into it. Remember the old saying: Not everything shining is the gem, and applying wisdom to handle them in a positive and intelligent way.

When we jump into the digital future of “VUCA” new normal – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, there are no other choices but being courageous and innovative to explore the new reality. Prioritization is both art and science. The art is to know when to pay attention and when to ignore. Prioritization starts with the right mindset to focus on the most critical challenge the business needs to overcome, to survive and thrive from the whirlwind of daily busyness.


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