Manager’s Corner/Get Your Lunch and Succeed
by Liz Weber
Have you ever been hungry for lunch and not able to focus on anything, let alone accomplish anything, until you get some food? Your focus is on one thing; getting food - now. That becomes your foremost goal and the direction of your actions. Everything else is put aside or is addressed only half-heartedly until you stuff something in your mouth. Until you get some food, you have no interest in discussing, starting, or working on any other project.
As you read that paragraph, could you relate to the urgency of needing food - now? How many of you started to get hungry and forgot whatever else you had been working on? As humans we have a limited ability to effectively focus on more than one thing at a time. However, whenever we focus intently on something, we direct our energies towards it - and often achieve it.
As managers, many of us need to develop or strengthen our abilities to maintain a single-mindedness of focus so we can more effectively achieve our business goals. We can’t become tunnel-focused and work-obsessed, but we need to develop a consistency of focus to ensure that what we’re focusing our minds and energies on, are issues that will keep propelling us and our organization’s forward. If the things we’re currently focusing on won’t move us forward, why are we wasting our energies on them?
Therefore, if what you need are more and better trained employees, how much time today have you spent actively recruiting? If you need to increase sales, what have you been doing today to generate sales? If you need to re-align services to better meet customer needs, how much time have you spent today making the necessary changes? These examples sound rather basic, but you’d be amazed at the number of organizations that grumble about these or similar issues daily, yet only address them half-heartedly. The issue that seems to be the main problem area is addressed as a third, fourth, or fifth-level issue. With that level of focus (and energy), how can one hope to resolve it effectively and quickly?
To gauge your single-mindedness, ask yourself and your management team these two questions:
1. What is the most pressing issue facing my company (my department)?
2. What specifically have I done to address that today?
If you’re not feeling the same sense of urgency for your most pressing issue as you did with the food example I started with, that should be a pretty clear indication to you that you’re not as focused on your pressing issue as you should be; therefore, you’re not putting as much energy towards it as you could be.
Become more single-focused. Become as hungry to achieve your business goals as you are to get your lunch.
© 2004 Liz Weber of Weber Business Services, LLC. Liz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-597-8890.