# 2 - The Attention Economy
TOOLS for TEAMS
by Randi Brenowitz
Issue # 2
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Issue # 2 - The Attention
"Financial Capital" is a familiar concept. In recent
years, we have also been introduced to "intellectual capital,"
"social capital," and now, "relationship capital"
(courtesy of Glen Toby of Hanover Strategies). I was, therefore,
intrigued by the concept of "attention capital" introduced
in Thomas Davenport and John Beck's book, The Attention Economy
(Harvard Business School Press, 2001).
book had my attention from the beginning, as the layout and colors
look more like an issue of Fast Company than a text published
by Harvard University Press. Except for chapters 2 and 3, which
are extremely scientific, that feeling continues throughout the
and Beck recognize that in today's information-rich environment,
the scarcest resource is not talent or technologyit's attention.
They explain that the problem for teams and team leaders lies
on both sides of the attention equation: on getting and holding
the attention of information-flooded team members, senior management,
consumers, and stockholders; and parceling out the team's and
leader's attention in the face of overwhelming information options.
As the amount of information increases, the demand for attention
also increases. Davenport and Beck believe that the only resolution
of this equation is to learn to mange attention as a critical
and finite resource
is not the same as attention, and time-management is not the same
as attention-management. Therefore, using the time-management
techniques we all learned in the 70's will not get us the results
we desire. Here are some of the concrete suggestions offered by
Davenport and Beck:
than ever, leaders have to find innovative means of capturing
and directing attention. If you are a team leader, you must learn
to focus your own attention, attract the right kind of attention
to yourself and your team, direct the attention of those who follow
you, and maintain the attention of both your internal and your
external customers. A good leader knows how to attach important
and powerful meaning to the issues on which he or she would like
the team to focus their attention.
chapter 8 (Leadership and Attention) Davenport and Beck
give helpful hints to help you manage attention the way you manage
other scarce resources. In chapter 12 (From Myopia to Utopia),
they give suggest policies to help leaders filter out unneeded
data and focus attention on important information.
I did not agree with all of Davenport and Beck's suggestions,
they sure did get my attention.
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