Cut the Noise

I estimate that throughout my career roughly 60% of my work has been frittered away on useless assignments. Some of it’s my fault; most of it is the fault of those above and below me. Far too often I’ve been asked to drop everything and gather data or attend a meeting or talk to someone or reinvent an entire process, and it all turns out to be for naught. Zero. Less than zero, in fact, because all that time I could have spent doing something productive and valuable is gone. And the work I should have been focused on is not done.

I’m not saying this because I’m doing any better. I know I’ve been the noise for my managers and my staff. What I’m really interested in is how we got to this point (causation has always been a fascinating subject to me), and, most importantly, how do we fix it? How do we cut through the noise to focus on those things which either definitively provide value—or, conversely, which we consciously acknowledge be to creative ventures that require uninterrupted non-productive intellectual space?

How do we have the brave conversations with the right people to regain the quiet, recapture the focus, and actually get some work done? Ideas, anyone?

2 thoughts on “Cut the Noise

  1. Ashley

    Hello, to your question about moving forward for quality work that focuses on end result and true progression, I think the biggest challenge I’ve come across in my career is the communication barriers in which getting your cohorts to accept the same challenge. Finding ways to get rid of “noise” and extra work that in the end doesn’t truly get us to our end goal, constantly deflects back to those willing to accept that same proposed challenge and team work. Communication and reception of the communication is the overall binding buy in. Dealing with organizations that have rather large generational gaps in the work force is partly what I see as the damper in a quicker uphill progression of end result, less noise activity. When attempting to simplify procedures, gaining support is based on true project proposals in my experience so that the reason the simplification is necessary; is a part time job in itself. Hence more work and noise.

    1. Samson Post author

      Communication is most definitely a major factor. Clear communication, to be precise. In order to clearly communicate, though, I need the mental space and the time to prepare a great communication plan and to produce clear messages. For me it’s really about having the bravery (and the cultural latitude) to push back on *urgent* but not *important* requests and create truly noisefree space to do great work.


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