How to Focus to Execute Well

“Do you want it right or do you want it on time?” Can things be done correctly and on time?

When an organization has clarity around its goals and is focused, both quality and time can be attainable deliverables.

I know it sounds easier said than done. However, by coaching dozens of executives over the years, I have watched leaders clearly communicate and be focused on their plan and target, which leads to their teams being more focused. When everyone is on the same page, with the same goal in mind, the results are AMAZING!

How does a leader focus?

  1. Clearly, define your goal. Read this post on gaining clarity for some pointers.
  2. Know precisely what you are trying to achieve. Define your metrics. What does success look like? (see post on setting metrics)
  3. Commit to it. Write it down. Brainstorm with those invested in the same goal so the timeline is clear. Share it.

These three steps can work for a short project or a long-term, large-scale project.

What causes a lack focus?

Think of it this way:  Monday mornings can be overwhelming for lots of people. Without a plan, most wander.

  • WHAT ACTIVITIES. To help create focus, be clear what activities are needed to reach your weekly goals.
  • DAILY SNAPSHOT: Make a list of everything you do in an hour, a half day, or a full day.
  • WHEN WILL I DO WHAT? You may be surprised how much more you get done and much faster you complete tasks.
  • CATCH ALLS: Have buckets for your main areas of work and a game plan for your day. (see post on setting up buckets)
  • WHAT"S DISTRACTING YOU?  Identify the things that are shiny objects drawing you away from your goals.
  • WHAT ARE YOU AVOIDING? By avoiding the difficult things that need to get done, you may be involved in activities that are drawing you off your focus.
  • SET TIMES FOR ACTIVITIES TO BE DONE. Write down how long you will allow for each activity. Putting yourself on a custom schedule like this can greatly increase your focus.

A focused leader is much more effective. We like to think our messy desk, our spontaneous schedule and whimsical impulses are healthy and just the way we work. That might be true, but it makes a person very difficult to follow (leaders are followed) and very difficult for you to plan so the team supporting the goal and plan and execute well. Whether it is a matter of discipline, structure or habit, great leaders have a plan which allows the team to understand the clear direction and plan their days and time so that EVERYONE is efficient and executing. THIS is how projects get done correctly, on time. Of course, there are always changes and interruptions – but a good leader will have this accounted for IN THE PLAN.  You can do it. The more you do the better you will get! (and if you feel resistant, hopeless, overwhelmed, confused or stuck on how to get going with your plan, I know a coach who would love to support you in developing your strategic plan for success!)

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