In Focus, Leaders

“I’m facing Niagara Falls – the wind and the mist and the dark and the peregrine falcons – and I’m going to stay focused on the other side.” – Nik Wallenda

One of my areas of improvement for 2018 is focus. There are so many possibilities and so many ideas and so many challenges that it’s easy to bounce from one to another to another without ever really getting serious about any of them. Successful people accomplish lots of things, so I should be trying to lots of things at once, right?

Wrong. One of the critical struggles of leaders everyone – not just me – is the battle to stay focused on what really matters. We only have so much time and energy. We have to spend as little of it as possible chasing things that really aren’t a big deal. So ask yourself this:

If your organization could only accomplish one thing in 2018, what would it be? Maybe you’re in growth mode, or maybe for you it’s about profitability, or cash flow, or developing your team, or whatever. Regardless of the issue, if you can’t answer that question then how do you know what your organization should be focused on?

If you personally could only accomplish one thing in 2018, what would it be? Maybe it’s some personal development issue, maybe it’s a family issue, maybe it’s something to do with coaching, maybe it’s something to do with customers. Whatever it is, if you can’t identify it, how can you really focus on it?

Maybe those questions are hard to answer. I’d suggest that if those questions don’t have ready answers, then you need to back up and ask this: What is our organization’s vision for the next 3 years? If you have a clearly defined and articulated vision then figuring out what to focus on shouldn’t be so hard.

In the end, I think that’s perhaps the reason so many people struggle with focus. They don’t really have a clear picture of what they want the end to look like, so they don’t know what to focus on, so they chase everything just in case it turns out to be important. That’s true whether we’re talking about business or our personal lives. We’re just bouncing from one thing to the next because we don’t really have a destination in mind.

Before we get much further into 2018, make sure you have a clear picture of where you and your organization are going. Draw it, take a picture of it, frame it, put it in the conference room, whatever you have to do to keep it front of mind. If you have that, then what really matters should be clear. Then, and only then, will you know where to focus.


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Showing 2 comments
  • ary alves pereira junior

    Hi Matt, wonderful article. Here in Brazil, we are finishing a week of carnival, I don´t like it, but the people love. After a long time of recession the companies are lost, and without focus, and if you ask them what´s your main target for 2018 most of them will say it´s a hard question to answer, we are just trying to survive
    but even surviving we have to have a focus and concentrate our efforts to them,


    • Matt Heemstra

      Thanks Ary, glad you survived carnival. I think your point about ‘just trying to survive’ is a comment I hear a lot. Unfortunately ‘just trying to survive’ still requires focus and concentrated effort, just like you said. Sometimes when times are tough it’s difficult to stop and think about what really matters – we think that if we’re struggling then just doing more is the answer. We still need focus. Make sure you stop and think today about what you need to focus on. Thanks!

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