Three simple words… focus, action, results. What a powerful formula for success. Simple to remember, has a lot of logic and yet difficult to practice. But why?
Well many of us focus on say four, five, maybe even ten activities at once and put a lot resources against them and get results….or do we? And what about those results? Are they the ones we were hoping to achieve or are they the just the end result of all the activities?
I’ve been observing that the businesses that have the greatest success don’t operate in the manner that I just described. They have a clear, focused vision of their business and they work their plan consistently and achieve above average profitability.
On the contrary, businesses that are trying many strategies in several divergent directions hoping that one or two of them will be home runs all too frequently find their efforts fragmented and everything in the business suffers, especially the bottom line. This reminds me of the story of a major east coast bank that was trying to break into the California market in the mid-80’s had a CEO who proudly professed his business strategy as “Fire, Ready, Aim”. Activity was big in that company, but results were short. Needless to say, that company subsequently spent a lot of time and energy downsizing and restructuring in the 90’s. They clearly didn’t understand focus.
I recently made the joke that the only thing more disastrous than an unclear sole proprietor, are partnerships or corporations made up of unclear individuals. Unfortunately this is not funny, and happens all too frequently.
So are there techniques for putting these three words to work in your business? Yes and it’s not difficult, but getting focused is the key to achieving results and that requires the ability to see your thoughts in writing. It’s just not sufficient to talk about your ideas because it’s been proven many times that we react differently to the written word than speach and yesterday’s words are just hot air.
The writing assignment I’m recommending is one page of key words and phrases that describe the essence of your business in five areas. They are vision, mission, objectives, strategy and plan. I define vision as what your business looks like to you, mission is the purpose for doing it, objectives are the things you would like to accomplish, strategies are the broad road map for achieving your objectives and the plans are the specific actions you are planning to take. Typical business planning stuff but here’s the difference.
This is a one page business plan that you should be able to complete an initital draft in one hour…maximum! It helps if you can have someone take notes while you describe your vision, mission, objectives, strategies and plans so that you are just verbalizing your thoughts. Have the individual capture your key words and phrases. Then enter them in your word processor for subsequent editing and refinement.
Why does this work and what’s the benefit? In essence, this process results in a contract with yourself. It’s simple, it’s concise, and it’s you. It may also be your first business plan, or the first one you can relate to.This one page plan can become your key reference point for any significant business or financial decision you are considering. Along with your budget you are well prepared to know if you are on track. Remember, focus and action bring great results. It’s a great formula for success!
Want to Get Your Whole Team on the Same Page? Download “The Future of Planning and Performance Management – An Executive Briefing”.