The A.D.D. Presidency

I’m not sure if I coined the term, “short attention span society”, but I do know I wrote about it some time ago, I think. Perhaps I too have this insidious condition that has been infecting and effecting Americans for years; A.D.D. – Attention Deficit Disorder (WikiPedia).

A.D.D. is certainly not limited to the young; just try to watch one of the President’s nightly teleprompter broadcasts (without falling asleep). Or read the latest healthcare bill, (which one I’m not sure), and try to follow his forever changing agenda. He jumps from one “crisis” to the next priority (the 2016 Olympics? — The Politico) faster than my almost 3 year old nephew switches from Sponge Bob to his obsession with tractors. This Presidency is like a moving target, and no one knows whom he’s aiming at next. Is it AIG, Wall Street, Bush (again), or the evil health care insurance companies? Take your pick, the only thing that seems to be consistent with this “hope and change” administration, is that the focus will certainly “change”, almost daily…

I have been observing for years, that our country’s collective attention spans seem to be diminishing, almost as fast as our freedoms. Look at the success of the USA Today; headlines and “sound bites” for each day of the week. As well, I’ll bet most of you get your news from that constantly scrolling line at the bottom of your TV screen, or either from the captions under your favorite talking head, as you “multi-task” you way through the day. From ESPN to CNN, and yes, even that hated liberal network, the “fair and balanced” Fox News, maintains a running monologue of instant information, covering everything from entertainment to the economy, or whatever else gets ratings.

So back to our A.D.D. President, and for those of you that may think you’re losing your mind (as well as your jobs, your 401k’s, and your future), here are the symptoms of attention deficit disorder…

· Indecision, difficulty recalling and organizing details required for a task
· Poor time management, losing track of time
· Avoiding tasks or jobs that require sustained attention
· Difficulty initiating tasks
· Difficulty completing and following through on tasks
· Difficulty multitasking
· Difficulty shifting attention from one task to another

Now, I’m no doctor, but I am an observer of human behavior. It appears the President’s priorities are much like the “climate change” crisis (The New York Times); first it’s getting too hot, then too cold. Is it the “economy stupid”, the healthcare crisis, the greedy CEO’s, or the Olympics? Can someone please help him make up his mind? President Obama’s recent decision to travel to Copenhagen in an attempt to “boost” Chicago’s chances of winning the 2016 Olympics has drawn criticism from some Republicans, who call it a boondoggle for Obama’s hometown allies and evidence the president has blurred his priorities (The Associated Press — “AP”).

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele denounced the visit on a conference call with reporters Tuesday. Calling it “noble for the president to pitch his home city, Chi-town,” before the International Olympic Committee Friday, Steele said it nonetheless was a distraction from more pressing issues such as health care, job creation and other urgent demands on Obama’s time. Focus Mr. President, focus….

So what was the result of this “focus” on what Americans want and need today? Wasted time, wasted energy, and wasted air time on Air Force One (and Air Force Two for the First Lady), for his home town “pitch”, as Chicago got booted from the bid (Yahoo Sports) quicker than a liberal leaves a conservative “tea party”…

The President has also claimed that his healthcare plan will be “deficit neutral” (United Press International– “UPI“). My take is his (or should I say his advisers’) latest plan is more “attention deficit”, and he can’t even remember what he said (or read off his teleprompter), the day before…Focus Mr. President, focus…

In a professional trade journal article I wrote a while back (PlasticSurgeryPractice.Com), I referred to Marcus Buckingham, a leading authority on employee productivity and the practices of leading and management. I believe he says it best in his book, The One Thing You Need to Know . . . About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success:

“Focus on those activities that strengthen you and avoid those that weaken. Your ability to filter out tasks you dislike and focus on the specific things you do well, will dictate much of your sustained success. People who are already successful became so precisely because they were unwilling to tolerate aspects of their job they didn’t like. Their intolerance caused their success.”

I think it’s obvious to most of the rational American thinkers that are plugged into our short attention span, information based society, which activities seem to “strengthen” the President, or at least those he “does well”. Speeches, and “just words” aren’t getting it done(YouTube video), Mr. President, especially when the words are doing nothing to solve the problem(s), and you can’t seem to keep your attention on the “one thing WE need to know”: how can WE the people believe you today sir, when tomorrow its always something else, or someone else to blame? Should we now “blame it on Rio”…?