Having too many ‘priorities’ is the route to mediocrity. This week I look at the power of focusing on the big stuff.
What’s the one big thing that, if you could get it done, would change your business for the better?
It’s a great question to be asking yourself regularly:
- at your annual business planning session
- at your quarterly business plan reviews
- at the start of each week
- at the beginning of every day
By continually going back to this question, you can ensure your focus is always on the issue that’s going to give you the biggest, game-changing impact.
On a daily basis, you need to keep asking yourself, “What should I be working on today that will help create a better business in three months, six months or 12 months time?”
Sure, you’ve also got other stuff on your to-do list, but don’t mistake continually working through your to-dos every day as progress.
You’ll know you’re succeeding when there are some jobs on the to-do list that don’t get done, while the big stuff is getting done.
For example, a few firms I’m working with right now are suffering badly because they don’t have the right team in place. I really feel for them.
In each case, they’ve got good lead flow and good quality clients are seeking them out. Sounds great. However, there is a major constraint on their ability to get work processed, without the owners having a nervous breakdown, because of a lack of one or two key hires.
What’s the number one issue for these firms right now?
Obviously, it’s getting the new team members they need on board. End of.
Yet, while you’re juggling business as usual and everything that goes with it, you can sometimes lose that laser focus. Let’s be honest, recruiting for the right new team member could take weeks or months. There’s no point hiring another person quickly who can’t do the job, however tempting that can feel some days.
You’ve got to make the main thing the main thing.
Stay on target
In the recruitment instance keeping focused on the main things might mean having a daily ten-minute pow wow to see what the next step is. Are there CVs to review? Recruiters to chase up? Interviews to be held? New higher-specification job descriptions to be created?
Whatever is that day’s main focus, get on it.
Once you’ve done all that can be done on your number one issue, you can get on with your business-as-usual work. Tomorrow start your day again with a pow-wow on this highest priority issue and take the next step.
If you’re working from home or travelling with your work, do it by phone or Zoom with your leadership team. Keep the momentum while you’re away.
Think like a strategic business owner rather than just pushing hard all the time.
You can’t move ahead without the new team member/s on board, and the stress on you and your team will be unsustainably high until that’s resolved.
Once the new person or persons are found you can go at double warp speed, overtaking those businesses that didn’t get to grips with what was really required to grow and grow fast. Instead of pushing, you need to focus on the main thing and fix it. Once it’s fixed you can go again, faster than ever, whilst enjoying the journey.
Keeping the focus
When you’re having to work on one issue for a sustained period it can feel like you’re going nowhere and treading water, but trust me you’re not.
You are working to fulfil a dream. Don’t forget that. Show your team, or your family, that in tough times you can knuckle down and do what needs to be done. Be a role model for them, and for the other people you interact with in your life.
This is what true leadership is all about. It’s no small thing, and you should be proud that you’ve built your business to a place where you have this opportunity. You’ve worked hard to get where you are.
Don’t distract and undermine yourself by taking on three or four other projects at this critical time. Get this one key project sorted first.
So ask yourself…
What’s the one thing that, if you could get it done, would change your business for the better?
Then start doing it.