06 Feb The Forgotten 21st Century Skill.
It’s the start of a new year and you have high expectations, but are you starting to feel frustrated? Immersed in our amazing technological and global world there are distractions at every turn. Unless you can master the skills required to focus, your day ends up out of control and you waste your precious time and energy doing things that are not important, valuable or enjoyable. I often remind myself to “Focus! Focus! Focus!” throughout the day. It’s my mantra!
Dr Douglas Reeves is the founder of The Leadership and Learning Centre and has worked with education, business, non-profit, and government organizations throughout the world. The author of more thon 20 books and many articles on leadership and organizational effectiveness, he has twice been named to the Harvard University Distinguished Authors Series. Reeves claims that focus is the forgotten skill of the 21st Century. He firmly believes that focus, not technological manipulation, is the most important skill in the decades ahead.
Interestingly, Daniel Goleman, EQ Guru, recently teamed up with Peter Senge, Systems Thinking Guru, in 2014 to co-author a new book, “The Triple Focus: a New Approach to Education”. They outline three important types of focus for the 21st Century; inner focus, focus on others and outer focus.
As you might expect, inner focus holds the key to a purposeful life, to concentrating on the task at hand, ignoring distractions, and managing our emotions. The second kind of focus, is tuning in to other people, or empathizing and being able to understand another person’s reality and relating to her or him from their perspective, not just our own. This kind of empathy leads to the ability to learn together, live together and work together; keys to effective, connected relationships. The third focus, outer focus, is understanding the larger world, understanding the way systems interact and create webs of interdependence, whether this interaction is in a family or an organization, or the world at large.
Howard Gardner, Multiple Intelligence Guru, believes that Goleman and Senge have come up with great ideas that are well worth pondering and I agree with Gardner. Focus is a leadership skill that we must develop in ourselves and our students as a life-long discipline if we are to succeed in life and sustain purpose and happiness.
If you would like help developing your personal or organizational leadership skills contact Maxine at Think Strategic for Schools.