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Monday, 3 August 2009

What We Need is Focus

It seems to me that we waste a great deal of time, energy and emotion on what my friend, Will Kintish, calls "stuff", that is, the noise that ebbs and flows around the really important things in a business.

Conventional wisdom has it that we have discretion over no more than 20% of our time in a working day. Telephone calls, people "popping in", the coffee arrives, the dreaded ping from the email, the desperate need to check on text messages on the mobile and so on, all contribute to the 80% of the day over which we have little or no control.

A great story was told about President Reagan when he said that he intended to achieve two great objectives during an eight year period in office; he was going to take out the Russians and give America its pride back. Everything else he would delegate, always taking responsibility if anything went wrong. And what happened? He achieved his two great objectives through absolute focus.

One of the Williams sisters said that she always used to visualise holding up the trophy at Wimbledon. It was not, you notice, about playing tennis which was merely a route by which she could achieve her objective.

It is said that the availability of knowledge is doubling every two years so is it any wonder that we can become submerged in information, coming at us from every conceivable direction.

An answer to the conundrum is FOCUS - make sure that you know precisely what you are going to achieve on a short (hour, day) term, medium (week, month) term and longer term and do not let anything get in the way. It takes some courage to delegate the "stuff" but in the end it is vital that you do, even if in your own mind it will never be done as well or as quickly as you would do it!

For further information contact us at ivan@maa-uk.co.uk