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Leadership with a Laser Focus

James A. DeSena, CSP

"The first requisite for success is the ability to apply 
your physical and mental energies to one problem 
incessantly without growing weary."    
                                                       Thomas Edison

How much focus does your leadership team have? Could it be sharper? What greater things could you accomplish if you had that sharper focus?

Focus is concentration of effort. A laser is able to project over long distances because 
the light is coherent. Coherent light moves in the same direction. Normal light is 
scattered and diffused. Light illuminates a wider area, but it doesn't have the sharp 
focus a laser does.

Too often individuals and organizations jump from one task to another, from one idea 
to the next. They are excited about what they are working on until the next opportunity comes along. Time and energy are wasted.

Here's an example of how this works on an individual level. 
(Does this ring a responsive chord?)

When I focus and concentrate, after a time I get into a state called "flow." That's when 
my productivity is at its highest. It takes me some time without distractions to reach that level of concentration.

One day, I was at my desk working on a project. I needed something for the project 
on the other side of the office. I got up to get it, but on the way over I spotted another project I knew I needed to be working on. "I'd better get started on that," I thought. 
As I started back to my desk, I remembered someone I needed to call on a third 
project. In the course of just a few minutes, I had interrupted my work focus twice. 
The lesson I learned was to keep consciously focused on what I was working on at 
the moment without giving in to distractions. Having a written list of priorities and 
knowing the next thing needed to be worked on is the cure for this type of distraction.

Organizations get distracted by jumping from one initiative to another without clearly completing the first one. (Employees sometimes skeptically call these the "Programs 
of the Month.")

Organizations often stray from their core competencies and strengths into what appear 
to be lucrative opportunities. These can detract from their ability to be outstanding in 
their original field of expertise. Knowing the difference between complimentary and competing businesses is crucial.

Some of the signs of a lack of focus are:

  • Complaints about poor communication

  • Protected "turf"

  • Reactive behavior

  • Blaming

  • Inconsistent results.

If you observe these behaviors in your organization, it's time to get your leadership 
team focused.

Leadership teams that have focus have these five characteristics:

  • They are committed to a compelling and clear purpose

  • Communication is good at and between all levels.

  • They have written strategic goals.

  • They never forget their existence depends on the customer.

  • Managers are accountable for delivering results and developing people.

In organizations where the leadership team has an intensity of focus, people are 
aware of what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how they will benefit.

Jim DeSena, CSP works with leadership teams to develop focus. For your free initial consultation, contact him at  www.salesleaders.com   or  800-4321-WIN 
(c)2000 Performance Achievement Systems, Inc.
                       EXPERTMagazine.com 2001

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