Thursday, January 06, 2005

HR strategy towards ADT?

The article by Edward M. Halowell (psychiatrist and expert on ADD/ADHT) on ADT in the HBR of Jan 05 was highly revealing to me to understand why so many smart people underperform in todays turbulent corporate world.

ADT is an abbreviation of Attention Deficit Trait, and is caused by brain overload. Main symptoms of ADT are distractability, inner frenzy, and impatience.

This brain overload is in turn caused by the hyperkinetic environment in which many executives live and work. Everywhere, managers rely on cell phones, e-mail, digital assistants, computers in the race to gather and transmit data, plans, and ideas faster and faster. Studies have shown that as the human brain is asked to process dizzying amnounts of data, the human brain switches to panic/survival mode and looses its ability to solve problems flexible and creatively. The number of mistakes increases and the ADT-situation gets worse.

It must be concluded that dealing with ADT seems important and the right thing to do, both from a human and business perspective!

What can be done about ADT? Hallowell provides the following advice:
  1. Promote positive emotions (build a positive, fear-free emotional atmosphere)
  2. Take physical care of your brain (sleep, a good diet, exercise)
  3. Organize for ADT (break down larger task into smaller ones, keep a part of your desk clean, keep a portion of your day free of emails, phones, etc, make a daily list of no more than 5 priority items that will require your attention tomorrow)
  4. Protect your brain from ADT and slow down (take the time you need to comprehend what is going on, to listen, to ask questions, and to digest what's been said. Empower an assistant)
  5. Some specific ADT - tricks and exercises (see the article)

More importantly, for us HR managers, this article means we have to think of a strategy towards ADT, to begin with creating awareness. I have started doing just that... Join me and Comment!