Step 4: Focus

What gives great results? Always, a very few things. So the secret is in finding the few things that are really powerful — truly pivotal — which make the difference between success and failure. Care about those things. Care about nothing else. Do those things. Do nothing else. To the extent that you possibly can, focus your work and your life on those areas where the “payback factor” is huge.  Actually, this principle holds true regardless of the task or challenge at hand. So the first step is to figure out the few vital things. In any task, most of the things that are done hardly matter. But a few things matter a great deal.

So, let’s say that you’re given a project at work — to win an important new customer...hire a new staff person...create an advertising campaign... organize a set of data...or whatever. There are a million and one ways you could try to do this. But most likely, very few of them stand much chance of producing extraordinary results. So focus on the one or two things with the most promise.

Step two is to cut out everything else. We always seem to be short of resources, whether it’s money, time, people, contacts, or energy. But the truth is, we’re not really short of these things at all. Most of the time we squander our resources and opportunities. And that happens because we’re not focused.

If we bore in on a few objectives, or better still on just one, we find we have loads of resources with which to pursue the goal. To do this, though, we need to stop wasting effort on things that don’t matter.

Why not give it a shot? Next time you have an important assignment or objective, work out the way to crack it, and then stop doing anything else. By abandoning the low payoff efforts and unrelated activities, you free up precious time you can use to do much more of the few things that truly matter.  Let go of the trivial many. Focus on the vital few.

Tools and Articles:
5 Guidelines For Setting M&A Priorities

Ordinarily managers and executives find it extremely difficult, particularly during the early stages of the merger transition period, to (1) establish priorities correctly and (2) stay focused on them.

You’re particularly vulnerable to this problem if you start out with a poorly conceived or misdirected integration strategy. Rest assured, there will be more than enough “impromptu management” and improvising called for even when your integration plans are carefully made.

Another...

Focus, Focus, Focus

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Something Has To Go

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Start Less. Finish More.

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There’s also the accelerating pace of change to consider. As our world speeds up, time seems to shrink. We’re caught up in this “age of instancy”—we even help...

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It's Not Enough To Be Busy . . . Or Even Productive

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Put on your economic glasses and take a critical look at what your group is doing. Since the most popular new measuring stick for companies is value creation, that’s how you need to keep score. Some 65 percent of all the large companies in the U.S. claim they have adopted...

Get Your Mojo Working

Each of us has a unique, highly personalized set of core strengths. These are based on our strongest natural talents that have been refined over the years with additional knowledge and skills. They’re our flagship abilities—our prime resources for achieving peak performance—so they’re spoken of as “signature strengths.”

IDENTIFYING SIGNATURE STRENGTHS

How can you know when you’re engaging a...

You can’t do everything fast. So you have to figure out where speed will count the most. Decide where your growth can make the biggest difference, then drive hard in that direction.

Fast growth is a sacrificial act. To pull it off, you have to steal from other areas of your life. Something has to give over here in order for you to grow over there. We’re talking about significant tradeoffs. Serious compromises. A hard-fisted rationing of resources, such as your time, energy ...

Let’s accept the fact that change affects employee attitudes.

You just can’t get around it. The bigger the change, the more likely you’ll see it damage the way people feel toward the company. During major organizational change, the trust level drops dramatically. Morale gets mushy. Loyalty, the tie that binds, comes unraveled. Job stress hits new highs. The overall effect can be punishing, like a hard st slammed into the stomach of the organization. And it can knock the wind out of...