Filters. We all have them and look through them at the world around us. We are a product of our environment and the fortune or misfortune of personal and professional events. We use these filters consciously or subconsciously to make countless business decisions each day.
Our business success hangs on our ability to identify the filters through which we make decisions. Business leaders must develop a finely honed situational awareness of filtering and the environment that triggers filtering. Only then can we develop an effective strategic plan to neutralize the filters and make objective decisions.
One of the most common filters is the volume of distractions in our life. I am tired, worried and spend too much time on email! Have you said that lately? Distractions are a major filter that can lead to poor judgment. Internal distractions lie within the boundary of our skin. We can correct stress and fatigue caused by poor diet, sleep and organization. Use a food diary, fitness coaching, a sound pre-bedtime routine, less caffeine and better email management.
We have limited control over certain external factors that cause distraction including lighting, noise and economic events. You just can’t change some external distractions so your effort is better spent developing tools to manage your reaction to these issues. Your brain has limited capacity to resist temptation, delay gratification and make decisions. You can run it to empty like a sports car fuel tank after a day full of distractions. Know when it is time to fill it up.
Executives who make financial decisions while distracted risk serious consequences including negative leverage, reduced borrowing capacity and potential loan default. Stay focused on the financial task ahead of you by minimizing distractions.
Be aware of your filters. Simply noticing your distractions is the first step to making better business and financial decisions.