The New Secret to Success? Attention Management

How information overload is hurting your effectiveness as a business person.

Instead of working on a specific skill or solution for your business, we're going to talk about how the flood of information that bombards you every second of every day is hurting your effectiveness as a business person.

As you are probably aware, for the last ten years the media has been making a big stink about how we have entered the Information Age. The Industrial Age is dead, long live the Information Age. Of course by the time the media discovered the Information Age, it had been going on for over 20 years.

Well, someone who I listen to and follow; someone who is on the leading edge of marketing, advertising, and selling; someone who is a highly successful (not to mention expensive) coach to dozens of famous marketing consultants, has released a new report that I think hits the nail on the head.

We are no longer in the Information Age. We've already passed through it!

Welcome to the Attention Age.

The rules of the Information Age no longer work. The Attention Age operates on a completely different set of rules - rules that you had best learn and adapt to.

The primary rule of the Information Age was that the key to success was commanding the most information. The person with the most information was going to get the most sales, make better decisions and be the most valuable supplier or employee.

The operating philosophy of the Information Age was "just-in-case." Collect information and knowledge JUST-IN-CASE you might need it.

The just-in-case approach is no longer effective. We all suffer from information overload. The problem is not a lack of information, the problem is an over supply of information. You can no longer successfully market, sell and manage people if you allow yourself to be a slave to the Information Age rules.

The key to financial success in the Attention Age is grabbing, commanding, and keeping someone's attention. That applies to prospects, customers, and employees. They all suffer from information overload.

Attention is what is in short supply. The operating rule of the Attention Age is "just-in-time." Get information just-in-time to use it. Not before.

In the Attention Age, we only pay attention when we absolutely have to, just-in-time. We seek specific information just-in-time to make the decision. Our clients want information on our services just-in-time to choose their contractor and get started on their project.

In order to succeed with your marketing and sales in the Attention Age you need to adhere to a few rules of thumb:

1. Advertising materials must grab their attention quickly - use a headline.

2. If you leave a voice mail, grab their attention quickly. Otherwise, they will delete it long before you speak your peace.

3. Become known as "the go-to-guy" for superior, trustworthy service and solutions. It's not who you know, it's who knows of you.

4. Stimulate and promote word-of-mouth referrals.

5. Cross market with companies who already have a relationship with the clientele you wish to reach. Offer up your clientele in return.

In order to be personally effective in the Attention Age, you need to adopt a handful of strategies.

1. Set clear, near term goals.

2. Keep your daily priorities linked to those goals.

3. Know who to go to for information. Stay networked. Maintain those relationships.

4. Make decisions based on instinct. Use trial and error if a decision doesn't work out. Don't wait for full information. It will be too late and the information will conflict with itself anyway. Two sides to every story? 10 sides is more like it.

5. Set aside specific blocks of time to answer phone calls, voice mail, and email.

6. When working on an important task, put the world on hold. Stay focused on the exact task at hand. Don't let your mind wander. Don't let interruptions reach you.

In order to keep your employees effective, keep them focused.

1. Remind them of the two or three critical, non-negotiable aspects of their job.

2. Set daily goals for them.

3. Make them think through (plan) their upcoming activities.

4. Don't interrupt them unnecessarily.

5. Monitor their performance and keep them focused on the desired results.

As a final aside, the irony of the Attention Age is that the individuals who struggle most with our education system are the ones who are best wired for success in the Attention Age. I am talking about people who have ADHD, Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder.

Strangely, in order to really connect with our market we all need to master the traits displayed by people with ADHD. So, instead of ADHD being a disability, it can be a huge advantage.

Who would've guessed?

Ron Roberts, The Contractor's Business Coach, teaches contractors how to turn their business into a profit spewing machine. To receive Ron's FREE Contractor Best Practices Newsletter visit