It wasn’t too long ago that people around the world were focused on something that brings us together, the Olympic games.
I sat at dinner the other night with the father of an Olympian, and I asked him about the lengths to which the guardians (coaches, trainers, doctors, etc.) limit distractions and “noise” surrounding the athlete. His answer boiled down to ‘as much as they possibly can.’ The objective is clear; to become the ultimate competitor. The takeaway; allow the individual to focus 100% on the objective.
Similarly, when control of a business changes hands, the business itself needs to be at its best, a top performer, in order to be the highest value asset. That means the individuals on the team need to be high performers and in order to get them there prior to the hand-off, leaders should consider the best options to foster (and elevate) focus.
How can organizations step up to act as guardians to ensure more “focus”? Let’s take a look at a few examples.
Meetings: Review the meeting schedule and ask your staff if there are ways to use the time more productively. Eliminate any “meetings about meetings.”
Streamlining processes: Engage your team with focus groups and productivity interviews. Ask about ways they might consider simplifying the steps to reach the same (or better) outcome.
Clarifying the gates of responsibility and job descriptions: Make sure that each team member understands what a work product should look like before it hits their desk and before handoff to the next person. Establish that individuals are doing the work memorialized in their job description, so there is no question about “who does what” in the chain of command.
Encouraging workers to block their calendar: Working at full speed is great for short-term goals and projects, but doing so regularly, creates disorganization and a sense of stagnation. When given additional time to think, strategize, and relax, work quality increases, and the mind can process the beginning, middle, and completion stages. Doing so supports cognitive resetting as well as psychological resiliency.
When organizations value focus time, their teams think more deeply, pay more attention, and refine their skills. Like training one activity repeatedly, the job becomes an extension of the person, and the limitations of what is possible expand increasingly outward.
People who understand how to be successful can out-perform those who don’t. Those who are encouraged to reach a goal within their wheelhouse hone their expertise and become top-tier performers.
Organizations can ensure successful outcomes for their employees by reducing noise on the job. It’s not a matter of creating a distraction-free environment but rather creating an ecosystem where the worker can focus on the task at hand consistently.
Want to create a high-value asset that reaches the podium consistently? Foster a culture that emphasizes focus so your teams can master their craft.