Focus–What Separates Top Performers From Everyone Else
We’re all incredibly busy. Our days get filled with all sorts of things–things which may seem very urgent. We have emails to respond to, we have meetings of all sorts, we have proposals, the lists go on.
Things pop up through the day or week, a crisis, something that must be addressed, or just something that diverts our attention. Too often, we go through our days like bumper cars. Each time we hit one, we bounce off, headed another direction. Go into any sales office, and there’s always a frenzy of activity, people coming and going, phones ringing, conference rooms filled with people moving from meeting to meeting. Many years ago, one client had reached the ultimate in insanity, execs and managers would schedule up to three meeting simultaneously–popping into each one for a few minutes.
It’s always odd to me. There’s lots of activity, but very little seems to get accomplished.
Watching high performers is different. The biggest difference seems to be focus and purposefulness. High performers first know what they need to be focusing on. Then have an ability to separate the urgent from the critical/important. They focus even further–what are the things that need to be done to achieve the goals or outcomes they seek; who do they need to do these with? Their focus is vicious, they focus on one or two critical strategies, no more.
High performers don’t get derailed. They stay the course, despite all the other distractions that may arise. They have their top priority or two–but no more. They have a plan of execution and they execute. Simple! They don’t jump from thing to another, but stick with their plan. They execute their plan, adjust it based on results, and keep moving forward.
Speed of execution is important. High performers move fast. They have a cadence and they maintain it. Others confuse lots of activity with moving fast, but because they have no focus, they don’t achieve anything. Despite the speed of execution and the rapid cadence, there is never a sense of panic or frenzy, it’ a calm purposefulness.
When there are problems, high performers don’t try to do more, in fact they do the opposite, they intensify their focus. They understand the essence of what they must do to achieve their goals. They don’t get diverted. They simplify everything.
Focus isn’t easy. It takes great discipline. It takes great confidence in yourself, that you’ve identified the right issues and have established the right plan. It requires commitment. It’s easy to get involved in a frenzy of aimless activities, but focus requires total commitment to the 1-2 priorities you have chosen.
Focus is important. Are you focused? What are the 1-2 most important things you need to do to achieve your goals? What are the fewest possible steps required to execute them? How committed are you do these or do you get easily distracted?
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