Success and Concentration
The fifth C in the twelve part series on success is Concentration.
Concentration is a unique trait of the most successful people and organizations. The unsuccessful usually have no understanding of the importance of this characteristic. If the ability to concentrate is missing or limited, then you will find people working on mostly low priority items or activities. The outcomes and results are also limited, therefore, high performance is not possible.
What is Concentration?
At the personal level, concentration is knowing what is most important to get done. It’s the ability to learn about the highest priorities and to execute on these priorities to get a higher level of performance. People who understand that performance is the ultimate goal and to get to the goal, you must focus upon the highest priorities.
At the organizational level, concentration is all about getting the outcomes and performance necessary to achieve the strategic goals and objectives. When organizations are getting the strategic objectives accomplished, then the energy levels are higher and performance is improving everyday. Without the focus of concentration then too many unrelated objectives are getting attention, thus draining the resources of the organization. The operation becomes too complex and there is a lack of understanding as to what is expected from each person in the organization.
What is Individual Concentration?
Individual concentration is most common in people that know what they want out of life. They have a sense of clarity regarding what is important to them. It is easier to focus both time and energy when you know what is important to you.
Another method used by individuals to gain focus is to ask the question… Why Am I On the Payroll? This question helps you to gain an understanding of what is important to you in your work position. The majority of people that we have coached have no clarity on this concept and and so it is not surprising that they have little or no focus at work. When you don’t know what is expected then any thing goes – which is usually the activity trap that most people find themselves involved with on a daily basis.
Take the time to understand what you want out of life and then focus on that! The interesting point when thinking about people or individual issues and concentration is sometimes your focus or concentration is on things other than work. Some people are more focused on family matters than work issues – and they need to discover ways to gain more time and focus on the family rather than work. In some cases, work can involve family or forms of social work allowing more time with the family. There are many factors involved regarding your highest priorities. The key is to think about you, what is important to you and what do you enjoy doing the most? Then figure out how to spend more time and energy doing what is important.
What is Organizational Concentration?
Now we are discussing one of the most important elements of organizational existence. What is the purpose of the organization. What must get done for the organization to be considered a success? The answer to this is what leadership is all about. You must know the purpose of the organization so you can devote more resources to getting the priorities accomplished.
A common technique used in corporations is the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 Rule. Another way to look at this principle or rule is the law of the vital few. The vital few is the reason for concentration. When we concentrate on the vital few, we are in affect working on the most important priority and therefore we should be achieving the results and outcomes the organization desires.
Another arena where the term concentration is important is the strategic focus of the organization. One of the most important concepts involved in the Strategic Creative Process is knowing your Major Driving Force. The reason knowing your Major Driving Force is so critical to your success has been proven by the authors of “The Discipline of Market Leaders.” They documented the connection between dominating your market and the discipline of maintaining clarity and focus about your Major Driving Force.
Working with several organizations during the past couple of decades has allowed me to see the impact of clarity in this area of Major Driving Force. When companies or functional units are struggling to achieve at high levels, we have traced the cause to a lack of clarity for leaders. These same leaders are making a variety of decisions that have limited the success of their staffs and ultimately the organization.
When you are clear on the Major Driving Force of your organization, you will have clarity on the most important strategic issues and a couple of key areas that you must achieve excellence in order to dominate the market in your niche. Without this clarity we have found conflicting decisions and priorities, leading to wasted resources and lower performance.
In summary, when you know what is important and what must get done for registering success then you can focus or concentrate on those for higher levels of performance. Most people and organizations have little understanding of what is important and where to concentrate their attention and efforts. Get ahead of the “Thundering Herd” of so-so performers. Find out what is important and concentrate on getting these high priorities done. Things will happen and they will be positive.
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