Find Your Focus

When you look closer, you'll begin see that highly successful people and organisations have a few things in common - it's amazing how obvious it is when you know what you're looking for. Have you seen it?

This is what I've observed -  3 essential areas of focus that set the successful organisations and leaders apart from mediocrity and their struggling competitors.

 

1. They focus on the PERSON not the ORGANISATION

The success of the organisation is dependent on the growth of the person. Many people focus more on the activity or the organisation and neglect the area of self improvement within their team. Google are a good example of how to do this well and in the way that empowers their employees, keeping the pipeline of innovation going, tapping its employees and letting ideas percolate up.

“We try to have as many channels for expression as we can, recognising that different people, and different ideas, will percolate up in different ways”

— LASZLO BOCK, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF GOOGLE'S PEOPLE OPERATIONS.

Looking closer at how Apple view their employees seems to back up this principle too - the people really matter. Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts treats her employees like the “executives” they are.

“They don’t feel like they’re just somebody over here working with customers,” Ahrendts said. “I don’t see them as retail employees. I see them as executives in the company who are touching the customers with the products that Jony [Ive] and the team took years to build. Somebody has to deliver it to the customer in a wonderful way.”

— ANGELA AHRENDTS

Ask yourself:

How committed are you to growing big people first?

What proportion of your annual budget do you spend on the development of your people?

How do you refer to your people?

What do you need to change to bring the focus to the person before the organisation?


2. Focus on THINKING not BEHAVIOURS

Behaviours don't begin as behaviours, they begin with a thought - a way of thinking. From our thinking we create words, words create action and actions repeated over a length of time become habits. And with habits, we see the birth of what we call behaviours. 

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: ”

— PROVERBS 23:7 (KJV)

Leadership Guru, John C Maxwell, is convinced that success begins with thinking and writes in his blogthat with right thinking you can change your life.

“Can changing your thinking really change your life? Consider this: I’ve studied successful people for over forty years, and though the diversity you find among them is astounding, I believe they are all alike in one way: how they think! That is the one thing that separates the successful from the unsuccessful.”

— JOHN C MAXWELL

Focusing on changing behaviours is difficult, time consuming, painful and often impossible. In comparison, working hard to challenge people's thinking, (although in no way easy) produces better results in the long term.

Ask yourself:

How committed are you to developing your personal thinking effectiveness?

What evidence can you point to that shows you are focusing on your teams thinking versus trying to change behaviours?

Is there one problematic behaviour that you're facing in the company that requires a different approach?

 

3. Focus on POTENTIAL not PERFORMANCE

The moment we rest our focus on performance, we're already living in the past. The majority of people are fixated with performance - and whilst performance is important and should be measured, it's not where the future lies.

What would happen if we focused on our potential 3 or 4 more times as much as our performance? I believe we will begin to discover a whole list of possibilities. Focusing on potential results in us becoming more self-aware and able to unlock areas of gifting we are not yet aware of.

Looking for and developing the potential of our team/employees takes intentionality and commitment but unearths a wealth of gifts and talents that may not have been discovered if the focus has only been on how they were performing. A dedicated approach to introducing coaching and mentoring into your organisation is required to unfold the potential of the people you lead - sadly, not many leaders are committed to this course of development with their team.

In an interesting article from The Fast Company, they highlight reasons you should hire for potential, not experience. They believe that when hiring, you should look past the experience candidates come with, to the potential for them to grow into the perfect fit for your company.

I agree.

“Having spent 30 years evaluating and tracking executives and studying the factors in their performance, I now consider potential to be the most important predictor of success at all levels, from junior management to the C-suite and the board.”

— FERNÁNDEZ-ARÁOZ, AUTHOR: "IT'S NOT THE HOW OR THE WHAT BUT THE WHO: SUCCEED BY SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH THE BEST"

Ask yourself:

How committed are you to focusing on your own personal potential?

Who in your organisation can you help focus on their potential?

How can you regain a healthy balance in your organisation to focus more on potential than performance?