John Hennessy, president of Stanford University since 2000, recently sat down for an interview with Fortune Magazine. In a wide-ranging discussion that touched on politics, economics and technology, the educator offered insights about entrepreneurship and innovation that should serve as food for thought to any aspiring business leader or established executive.
Hennessy emphasized the importance of staying focused and thinking deeply about any given problem or project. He drew on his experience at Stanford to make his case, asserting that individuals who are constantly shifting their attention between tasks will not be capable of conducting the kind of critical analysis that drives innovation and allows companies to achieve standout success.
Hennessy said one of the greatest problems for today’s students is that “They all think they’re the world’s greatest multitaskers. They think they’re really excellent at it, that they can be doing Facebook, listening to that lecture, and it’s all going in there. For me personally if I have to do something really hard like do some writing or do some really deep thinking, I’ve got to have quiet, I’ve got to have my focus, 100 percent of my attention to do it.”
Hennessy’s point should hit home with entrepreneurs and enterprise leaders. No company can achieve its full potential if peripheral tasks or operational concerns are constantly disrupting staff members’ focus.
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