At the CEO Netweavers Leadership Breakfast yesterday morning I sat next to Dan Weston--the guy that coached the executive team at The Scooter Store through a period of dramatic growth increasing revenues 287% in nine months. You've likely seen Dan on television as the genial guy advertising The Scooter Store's products. He's not really old--he just looks a lot more credible to seniors than the thirty-somethings that lead that company.
Dan told me the principles he used in this consulting engagement came from Vern Harnish's book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. At the heart of Harnish's practical manual for growth is one fundamental concept--focus. This respected consultant says you need a handful of guiding principles (rules) you need to repeat them often, and you need to act consistently with those principles. Harnish explains those concepts in the next 120 pages of his book, but the heart of what he tells executives is to focus their energies on a short list of priorities that everyone knows and works to achieve.
Effective problem solving demands focus as well. In cause analysis you focus on determining the root cause of a problem, in the creative stage you focus on generating new ideas, during decision making you focus on evaluating alternatives against defined criteria, and when implementing a decision you focus on identifying what could go wrong in the implementation--and how you will keep it from happening.
What could change in your world today if you took the time to focus your information, knowledge, and experience like a laser on one specific problem that you've ignored, hoping it would resolve itself. Focus is critical to building a business, it's also essential for identifying and resolving the problems you'll encounter along the way.