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Capture

The essential survival skill for leaders buckling under information overload.

Pity your poor mail carriers. Their shoulders must burn under the mailbag strap as they haul each day's load. On a recent day, chosen at random, my mail drop included:

  • a brochure promising (for only $1,495) an "intensive, hands-on workshop" from which you "go back to your office with a complete solution-oriented plan."
  • a four-page flyer (see the metallic inks shine!) about a Web site that will give me "innovation, perspective, and impact."
  • a packet of six book reviews, which left me feeling guilty about all the great books I should be reading but probably won't.

I dropped the mail and booted up my laptop—and found 17 e-mails in my inbox.

To live in our Information Age is hard; to lead is even harder. How can you keep up? Learn what's important? Filter out what's not? Grow as a person? Get things done?

I've asked those questions often. And I've noticed a subtle but key difference between leaders who get things done and leaders who don't. We're all awash in information; some leaders swim ...

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