Focus is key to great results. In a world full of external interruptions and internal distractions it is all too easy to dilute your focus which then dilutes your results.
John Kotter says, “Leadership defines what the future should look like, aligns people with that vision, and inspires them to make it happen despite the obstacles.” These three leadership practices are the trifecta that power focus and lead to results.
- DEFINE. Over and over we hear that people lack clarity. Leaders believe they have communicated vision, so what is happening? Unfortunately, once vision is shared it often “leaks” – people forget what was once clear. You cannot focus on what you cannot see, so a leader must clearly define the future and then repeat that over and over and over. When is the last time you’ve clearly and specifically articulated your vision.
- ALIGN. Just because someone is clear on the direction for the desired future state doesn’t mean they can link the future to the present. Creating focus within an organization requires that the “dots” that lead from where you are to where you are going get connected. The dots are the specifics of what it will take to accomplish the future. How well are you helping your team see the path from where they are in the present to what you are thinking about the future?
- INSPIRE. Logic makes people think, emotion makes them act. The difference between wishing and doing is the commitment to act! Commitment comes from engaging more than the mind. Inspiring others is creating the urge or ability to do something, and commitment is what’s needed to make the change last. Leaders who encourage the question “how will I…?” inspire possibility thinking. Inspiration is the ability to get other people to believe the future vision is their idea. As Peter Fuda said, “People may agree with your opinion but they only act on their own.” Inspiration makes the idea belong to the team.
Getting great results comes from focus. Focusing on doing the right things is a result of defining, aligning and inspiring.
Here’s a fun chart that shows what happens when all three leadership practices are present:
Which leadership practice do you need to improve?