High performing professionals have one thing in common: they are extremely focused on what they do and how they do it.
One of the biggest issues that prevent effective performance is busyness, flitting here and there trying to achieve too many things and accomplishing little.
Many believe that by firing enough bullets toward the target, the likelihood of a direct hit is increased. The problem with this shotgun method is that it squanders precious limited resources and it assumes the shooter has the correct target in their sights. In most practical situations neither assumption is true.
What IS true, however, is that levels of performance are directly related to first, being clear on what you are trying to achieve, and second, concentrating on the FEW critical tasks or objectives that will get you 80% there.
Find three things that will deliver 80% of what is expected and the brass ring is yours!
How Can You Achieve Focus?
- Clearly understand what you are trying to achieve. Not in general terms – “Increased market share” – but in granular detail – “increase the share of wallet from the following 25 (named) customers who at the moment are served by our main competitor.”
Unless your crosshairs are pinpointed on your target, any action you take will be diluted; any focus you impose will be unproductive. There’s nothing worse than being amazing but focused on the WRONG thing, right?
- Choose not more than three strategic objectives that you believe you can contribute to. If you’re in sales, for example, pick those requiring product sales emphasis or relationship building.
- Build an action plan for each objective you have decided to pursue. Make it detailed with specific actions and accompanying target dates.
- Communicate your plan to your leadership and ask for feedback to ensure you are on the right track from their perspective. Fine-tune (or completely rewrite) your action plan based on their review and input.
- Once you are executing your action plan, beware of over-the-transom yummy incoming requests of your time that take you off your plan. Stay focused on what YOU intend to achieve; avoid if at all possible what OTHERS want you to do. In some cases, this proves very difficult to do but stay in the awareness. While you are chasing stuff your plan is in the sleep mode; nothing happens.
- Question changes in priorities that impact your plan; this could be disguised yummy. If a new priority is declared, reassess your action plan quickly and make appropriate adjustments. Then get going!
High performing professionals stay focused on what NEEDS to be done; chasing POSSIBILITIES achieves little.