Issue 84 - 02 | TouchPoints: Why the Interruptions That Drive Us Crazy Just Might Be the Most Productive Opportunities We Have Every Day

By Douglas Conant & Mette Norgaard
Published July 6, 2011 12:00 a.m.
“Some days it feels like the information age has morphed into the interruption age. But what if those interruptions turned out to be our best opportunity to make a difference in our workplaces?

As leaders, we make choices all day, every day. The “knock on the door” happens over and over again in some form – phone calls, meetings, emails, and text messages with questions to answer, concerns to address, problems to solve, and fires to put out. There are big issues and small issues, planned sessions and surprises, and they come at us endlessly and from every direction. We have to make decisions without having all the available information, and we need to make them right now. The workload is expanding, and the time we have to deal with each issue is shrinking.

But what if we could step back and look at all those interactions with a fresh perspective? What if, instead of seeing them as interfering with our work, we were to look at them as latent leadership moments? What if these moments were the answer to transformational leadership in today’s busy world?”

About Douglas Conant & Mette Norgaard | Douglas Conant is president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company. Under his leadership, Campbell reversed a precipitous decline in market value and employee engagement, improving its financial profile, enhancing its diversity and inclusion practices and raising its corporate social responsibility profile. Previously Conant held management positions at Kraft and General Mills, and was president of the Nabisco Foods Company.

Mette Norgaard is an expert on strategic leadership and learning. She advises executive teams around the world on how to create distinct learning solutions that advance their companies’ strategies. She has worked with senior-level leaders from Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, GE Capital, Nucor Corp., Estée Lauder, Harley-Davidson, the U.S. Navy, and Pfizer. Previously Norgaard was a consultant for FranklinCovey Co. You can find her inline at

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