EXPLORE FOCUS

In 1996, after ten years away, Steve Jobs came back to a nearly bankrupt Apple and found they were working on about fifty projects. He binned over half these projects straight away, and instructed his teams to focus on just the high value ones. Within a year they had delivered the industry-changing iMac.

Much of Steve Jobs’ success was down to his ability to create simplicity from complicated situations.

“Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains”.

But creating this simplicity is becoming harder than ever. In one day of our 21st century lives, we receive as much information as someone living five hundred years ago would have done in an entire lifetime. So if you ever feel a touch overwhelmed, that’s why. Our society has developed much faster than our brain.

We can’t and probably don’t want to turn back time. But our new reality means we need to be stronger than ever at creating simplicity from complex. Strategies can be complicated, but to drive human behavior focus needs to be simple.

When we achieve this, it’s crazy powerful. Imagine if at any given moment, any person in your organisation could tell you the three things they were focused on right now. And imagine if that BIG 3 lined up with their teams’ and the organisation’s goals, and their own Sweet Spot – the areas they are strongest in, love the most and where they are able to make the biggest difference. That’s what real focus looks like.

TOOLS

A small number of the most powerful goals, we will run through walls for – short and medium term.

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HOW IT HELPS

Gallup studies show that those people who are able to focus on goals in line with their strengths are 6 times more engaged and 38% more productive. A study at California’s Dominican University found that people who wrote their goals down performed significantly better than those didn’t. Those who made a weekly report on how they were progressing did better again.

These results are not surprising. But what is surprising is that despite this being a pretty easy concept to grasp, only 38% of people say they have goals at work (it’s significantly less for life).

There’s a bio-chemical reason why goals are so powerful. When our caveperson ancestors saw an apple tree in the far distance, a hit of dopamine (sometimes called the happy chemical) motivated them to make the effort to walk there. Another would keep them going if they saw they had made progress, and another would reward them when they reached the objective.

But all of this only works if goals are punchy, simple, memorable and inspiring. A lack of these fundamentals is the biggest reason people fail to reach their goals. This is the problem Focus is designed to solve.