In workplaces throughout the world, scenarios of near-constant distraction have become the norm. Thankfully, our ability to focus is still salvageable. As a result of the vast amount of neuroscience research being done, there’s now hard evidence about what attention is, how it works, how to attain it and how to use it productively. By delving into the findings, Steelcase researchers have gained new insights into how our brains shape thoughts, emotions and behaviors, and then applied this new science to create concepts for how thoughtfully designed workplaces can help workers better manage their attention and think better at work.
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When IBM asked CEOs around the world to identify the most important leadership traits needed today, their answer was resounding: collaborative, communicative, creative and flexible. CEOs are seeking “employees with the ability to constantly reinvent themselves. These employees are comfortable with change; they learn as they go, often from others’ experiences,” notes the study. Driving the need for these skills is the complexity of problems that organizations face today, and the demand for innovation that is no longer the turf of elite, top brands. Innovation is critical to drive bottom line results.
But here’s the new dilemma that CEOs face: collaboration, communication, creativity and flexibility are a set of behaviors that require leadership skills, metrics and mindsets that are different from what many business leaders have learned in the past. For decades, business schools churned out young leaders who were well trained in areas such as logistics, supply chain management, analysis and the like. Only recently are organizations recognizing that those business fundamentals aren’t enough on their own. They also need to create an environment and culture in which the necessary new behaviors can thrive.
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