Reputation Deficit

November 02, 2008

Reputation Deficit

I am totally overwhelmed by information today. I imagine everyone feels that way. Therefore I was fascinated to read an article on multitasking that made me understand why I feel as if I had recently caught attention deficit syndrome. And how can I advise companies on reputation building when no one can concentrate long enough to pay attention to any corporate messages or good deeds or CEO apologies?
Although I try to do a few things at once such as talk on the phone and take care of email and read what’s happening with the election, I know that I am a failure at listening carefully enough when I try to do that. I get angry at myself when I try.

The New York Times article mentioned a 2005 study (“No Task Left Behind? Examining the Nature of Fragmented Work”) that found people moved from one project to the next every 11 minutes. Best of all was the crazy finding that it took 25 minutes for people to return to the original project they were working on. And another study found that people are now guilty of self-interrupting! I confess that is happening to me too. I will be working on something and then after 12 minutes will self-interrupt and call someone or send an email to someone out of the blue. How can people concentrate at all when they are constantly other-interrupted or self-interrupted. What does this say about our ability to focus our attention on which products or  services to buy or places to work? As for reputations, how can you find that perfect moment to reputation-build and have people hear you?

The experts in the article recommend that we break away from our blackberries and focus on our conversations without building in distractions. Now that I recognize my inability to focus while doing three things at once, I am working at only doing one thing at once. I am totally overwhelmed by information today. I imagine everyone feels that way. Therefore I was fascinated to read an article on multitasking that made me understand why I feel as if I had recently caught attention deficit. And how can I advise companies on reputation building when no one can concentrate long enough to pay attention to any corporate messages or good deeds or CEO apologies?

Although I try to do a few things at once such as talk on the phone and take care of email and read what’s happening on the election, I know that I am a failure at listening carefully enough when I try to do that. I get angry at myself when I try. The article mentioned a 2005 study (“No Task Left Behind? Examining the Nature of Fragmented Work”) that found people moved from one project to the next every 11 minutes. Best of all was the crazy finding that it took 25 minutes to return to the original project the person was working on. And another study found that people are now self-interrupting. I sense that happening to me too. I will be working on something and then after 12 minutes will self-interrupt and call someone or send an email to someone out of the blue. How can people concentrate at all when they are constantly other-interrupted or self-interrupted. What does this say about our ability to focus our attention on best products, services, places to work? As for reputations, how can you find that perfect moment to reputation-build and have people hear you?

The experts in the article recommend that we break away from our blackberries and focus on our conversations without building in distractions. Now that I recognize my inability to focus while doing three things at once, I am working at only doing one thing at once.

Of course, I just got a twitter account which is an additional distraction. Could not help myself. I told myself I have a job to do in following the tweets on reputation. Good excuse Leslie.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross
lesliegainesross@gmail.com

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

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