6 Fundamentals of Focus

Multitasking is out. Focus is in.

Do you understand what focus in your organization and on your team means? Make sure you are able to continue to engage a highly productive team by applying these six fundamentals of focus.

1. Everyone is focused

Everyone is focused on something. The problem is: are they focused on their most valuable and profitable activities? Are they focused on their home life? Are they focused on their worries and concerns? Are they focused on how to get ahead and not necessarily how to create results?

Everybody is focused, it is directing that focus that can get a little tricky for managers.

2. Not everyone is focused on the right thingFocus on Solutions

You can’t assume that the people on our team are focused on the right things.

There was a woman on an assembly line that was turning out products at a 93% defective rate. That means if the products that came off her line, 93% did not meet quality standards! When it was discovered, her manager asked, “Why didn’t you say anything?” And her response was, “Nobody asked.” Because nobody asked, she assumed that her focus was correct.

Focus is about being sure you’re doing the right things in the right ways and creating the right results with your time. Putting in the time doesn’t mean much if that time is spent focusing on the wrong thing. Get your team focused on the right things by working together to list their most valuable and profitable activities.

Focus on Results3. What you allow, you condone

People do things that may not be the right thing for the growth of the organization. They may be missing important deadlines because they’ve been focused on personal issues or procrastinating or because they are unknowingly focusing on the wrong activities rather than an important deliverable.

If you don’t say anything, they assume approval or consent by silence. You might figure that, over time, they’ll figure out they shouldn’t be doing it. But if you allow it, you condone it. If you condone it, they’ll keep doing it. You need to Tweet this: be clear on the things people are doing that are an ineffective or inefficient focus of their time.

4. What you celebrate, you encourage

Conversely, Tweet this: celebration focuses attention. What gets attention gets done. What we celebrate gets repeated. Just as silence suggests approval, the celebration focuses on the good that people are doing and should keep doing.

5. Don’t expect what you don’t inspect

How often do you find out too late that what you thought was being done wasn’t?

There is a fine line between inspection and micromanagement, but the important distinction is the placement of responsibility and then follow-up. You don’t necessarily have to tell your people how to do what you want them to do, or you don’t need to be looking over their shoulder as they are doing it. However, you do need to make sure that you are following up on delegated responsibilities. Accountability is a key facet of responsibility.

Focus on behavior6. Behavior is always believed over words

The old phrase is monkey see, monkey do, not monkey hear, monkey do.

Leaders and managers tend to think that if you just say it enough, people will buy-in. But people are listening to your words and watching your behaviors. That means it’s necessary to be as focused as you expect your team to be.