How crazy busy is life these days? If you’re like me, you’re constantly being pulled in different directions with many “things” competing for your attention. So, how do you get the necessary focus to get the big picture items done?
Someone quite wise on this topic is Steve Smolinsky, who I describe as a rogue management consultant, because management consultant is way too mainstream a title for the kind of work Steve does. Steve goes into companies and sorts them out so that the right people are in the right chairs, everyone in the company knows their purpose, and meetings are no longer a waste of time. And he makes the process fun. Really.
So, I asked Steve, how can you have tunnel vision and broad vision at the same time?
“You’ve got to be aware but not distracted,” be begins. “These days, there are so many shiny things trying to capture your attention. It’s why you need a clear picture in your head about where you and your company are going, what you’re aiming for, what your story is, what the critical elements are, and how it all fits together. This gives you a way to filter things. Something either fits or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t fit, push it out. Or better yet, don’t let it enter in the first place. For example, many fast food chains have been trying to expand their offerings. Starbucks, for instance, has experimented serving wine to expand its customer base but as near as I can tell it hasn’t been effective because it’s a different story and focus from their core business selling coffee. How do you differentiate wine and coffee in your advertising? Are people who now sit for hours drinking coffee going to be there for hours getting loaded? And is that what you want? It’s fine to search for new things to offer but it has to fit within your existing environment or things get fuzzy.”
I then asked how you get the balance between focus and innovation?
“People often forget what makes them great. They seek exponential growth and do something different for the sake of doing it and make acquisitions that don’t fit with the culture and story of the company or enter markets where they have zero expertise. You have to start with the story of your company – what’s your purpose? Why do you exist? Then you need to have people who are on board and focused on these things so everyone pulls in the same direction. Focus leads to passion. Or maybe passion leads to focus. In any case, it all ties together. You need an ability to understand what you’re doing to make it work and enable all your people and everything you do to be totally aligned.”
So, there you go. Identify your purpose and the rest will flow. And if you want Steve to sort out your company, find him at BenariLTD.com.
Photo Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1259077