Pool of attention

“Organisations are engines for turning human attention into outcomes.”

Sam Spurlin of The Ready (source)

Probably worth just pasting Sam’s LinkedIn post in full:

One of the simplest definitions/metaphors of organizations I like to play with is, “Organizations are engines for turning human attention into outcomes.” The best organizations are able to magnify and direct that attention productively, leaving people feeling like they are contributing to something that matters and respected.

The worst organizations scatter and diffuse that attention, leaving people feeling ineffectual, disrespected, and frustrated.

A lot of org design comes down to whether we’re conscious of how our design decisions are affecting the “pool of attention” floating around the org: is this meeting any good and does anybody care if it’s not? is this training I’m supposed to complete any good and does anybody care if it’s not? is this report I’m creating going to be read by anyone? is my manager obviously scanning Slack while having a 1:1 with me? does our organizational structure make any sense or are we all expected to just pretend that it does? do I spend more time and energy talking about the work rather than doing the work?

Bad org design abuses our attention. Good org design treats it like the precious resource it is.

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