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Driven to distraction: The Kardashian paradox

Scott McArthur is a highly respected and international keynote speaker.  A man of many talents, one of his most popular speeches is about The Kardashian Paradox.  He helps organisations respond to employee attention spans which are disappearing as more as more channels of information make demands on our time.

Social Media

Across the board our collective attention span has decreased as the dominance of social media has increased dramatically. Running alongside this is an increased urgency to do more, faster and right now.

For instance, Scott says perhaps you would feel differently if he paid you to read this blog. Attention is the new currency and the new economy.

A few years ago, he reminds us that we might have waited a few hours, or days, for a response to an email. Today smartphones make any lapse in response seem inefficient.

Email is not the only entity crying out for our attention. As more brands, businesses and celebrities demand our time, there is huge pressure for us to do more to stand out.

Tuning out the noise

Scott feels strongly that as technology changes, so does the way we need to develop and conduct ourselves. We need to change how we tune into the most useful data and tune out the more destructive noise. He argues we need to be mindful of this storm of competing demands on our attention and adapt the manner with which we treat our people as employees and as customers.

He says we are always going to be guilty of our attention straying when we’re not sufficiently occupied.  A bit like magpies when we see something shiny.

Scott explains The Kardashian paradox

“Kim Kardashian, a woman famous for doing nothing, has tricked us into talking about her. Who cares if some of her press is negative? Herein lies the Kardashian Paradox.  Not all businesses can afford the oiled limbs of Kim K to grab attention for their brand, but they can educate their people about their own self-awareness and ability to concentrate. Advertise in more niche ways. Demonstrate, through their own behaviours, that this matters.  I believe great leaders are able to say to themselves, ‘what am I going to focus on?’ then do it. Technology has the potential to help or hinder in this domain, and I believe that ‘if you are always on, you are never present,’ which is one of the great challenges facing our generation.”

What can leaders do to avoid being distracted?

Scott continues saying, “Organisations are in danger of drowning in data and measurement.  This is why I encourage managers and individuals to consider whether or not what they are doing represents ‘Time Well Spent.’  This comes from an idea promoted by Tristan Harris, and specific to software, but which has broader organisational and cultural ramifications. Following Marie Kondo’s example and decluttering your organisation may be a good first step.

We can help ourselves, too. I have long been fascinated by the use of legal performance-enhancing drugs, or nootropics, and wonder whether businesses will start to prescribe them to their own people, encouraging sharper responses for more prolonged periods of time.

Still here? In which case, here’s my parting shot. To ensure they have our attention, and to seek more certainty about their customers buying, or buying into a specific brand, I am certain that corporations will pay us to watch their adverts very shortly.

Thank you. Your cheque is in the post.”

If you are interested in booking Scott as a speaker, please contact us on or call 01332 810481.

Here’s what one of our clients had to say about him:

Scott McArthur was a delight to work with as we prepared for our event, and he did not disappoint as a speaker. He was well-informed, provocative and highly engaging. He presented in a highly professional style which our delegates found engaging and was able to connect with the audience and entertain as well as inform them and encouraged debate and discussion. We can recommend him without reservation. Scott’s varied background ensures that he would be a good choice of speaker for most audiences. Since our event, delegates have made contact specifically to praise Scott’s skills as a speaker”.

CMA Trust

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