Most of us are totally unaware of how much our lack of focus impacts our lives and our businesses yet the impact is huge!
Among many things, lack of focus:
- Damages relationships
- Results in missing sales opportunities
- Increases our cost of doing business
- Derails us from our vision
- Impacts our ability to achieve goals
- Results in increased work hours and workload
Essentially, lack of focus is, at best, a drag on our business and, at worst, will bring our business to its knees!
I think all of us can recall a time in our lives and/or businesses when our lack of focus cost us something. If not, maybe some of these examples will jog your memories!
This week’s book review is Louder Than Words by Todd Henry
Todd Henry steps the reader through the process of, and importance of, discovering what makes each of us unique. He calls this uniqueness the “authentic voice.” Each of us needs to devote ourselves to impacting the world with the uniqueness that only we possess.
My takeaway from this book is that we need to find a “Sherpa” mentor. A Sherpa mentor is one that doesn’t just provide passive advice but is fully vested in the path to your success. If you succeed, they succeed and, if you fail, they fail . . . just like a Sherpa and a climber.
Also, Henry provided an effective template for getting feedback on your performance and to help you define your uniqueness. I have summarized this process below:
It is crucial that you have strong leadership in place if you want your business to succeed.
As John C. Maxwell says; “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” If your leadership team is strong then your business will be well positioned to rise but if your leadership team is weak your business will eventually fall, just like Maxwell states.
This has been proven time and time again throughout political and business history. We have seen it recently in Alberta with the terrible PC party leadership over the last number of years which led to their decimation in the election in 2015. Similarly, the current NDP government leader, Rachel Notley, has seen her popularity nosedive since she came into power and her leadership ability became more public. We are also seeing this played out right now in the leadership race in both the Republican and Democrat parties in the US . . . no one is sure where this will end up!
Leaders of successful businesses foster innovative work environments where their employees are able to creatively apply their knowledge and strengths to solve their customers’ problems. This sort of work environment is motivating for employees, results in happy, repeat customers that are happy to pay for your services and products. It is a win-win-win for everyone.
Back in the early 90’s I worked for a consulting company that had this mindset. Employees were encouraged to work with customers to identify areas in their businesses that could be improved. We then proposed a number of solutions to deal with these improvement opportunities and the customers would hire us to implement them.
“The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing.” Stephen Covey
What is your “main thing”? What is it that you do so well that people are willing to pay you for it? If you are not doing your main thing, or what you do best every day, chances are you are frustrated and even disengaged at work. According to Gallup annual poll, only 31.5% of US employees were engaged at work in 2014. That means that 68.5% of the US is not engaged in their work! As business leaders, this should scare us!
My main thing is leadership. Specifically: strategy, process and structure, and communication. Today, I do that from a business point of view by setting business strategy and vision, building processes and structure to implement that strategy and then communicating to the organization through this process. Prior to business leadership, I did the same thing from a project management perspective and, earlier, from an engineering and construction perspective.