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Leadership Lessons: Seven Chunks of Information

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How many things can you keep in your mind at one time? Think about this. Read what is next then close your eyes and see if you can get them all right and in the right place. Can you juggle five grapefruits while you have President Obama tucked under one arm and Brad Pitt under the other and on your head is a basket of fruit and at the same time you are skiing down a hill while singing “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen.

OK. Open your eyes. I bet you were able to do this and have it absolutely correct. However, if I added three or four more things your memory would start to stop!

It is called cognitive load. You see, we have a finite limit to our short term memory.

Knowing this is really good for all of you leaders and emerging leaders. When you talk with your team you can go up to seven chunks of information. Do more than that and most of your staff will go on overload.

That is for new information. Older information that is stored in long term memory we learn and store as habits.

Answer this question: how much energy did you put into thinking about brushing your teeth this morning? Were you scratching your head and thinking “Which hand do I use? Or how do I put the toothpaste on the bristles?”

Next week I will take you on a journey to the land of habits. There are those that help us and those that hinder us. If you want to take a really deep dive into habits and behavior patterns get a copy of “Don’t Bring It to Work.” It will help you learn how to turn those more difficult habits into something healthy and positive and I promise you, your career will soar, as well as your personal life. And you can sing “Let It Go” as the habits transform and help you be the best you can be.

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