How many of you go to a store without a list of what you need? Personally, I never go out to the store without a specific need. I guess I am not the type of clientele the retailers are looking for since I don’t buy just because there’s a discount. And definitely, don’t go shopping randomly.
Recently, I needed some new pillows and ended up at Ikea, which is a great store if you ask me. I was done within 15 minutes because I grab what I need, and off I go. But whenever I go to Ikea I love to hang around in the parking lot for another 15 minutes just to see nature at work. I just love to see the stupidity that I claim it is. You come to Ikea for napkins or a bag of tea lights, and you go out with a new couch or side table. And then the fun begins. People start the process of blaming each other. The first complaint is about the car: it is a piece of sh*t and far too small. Then we blame it on the kids; we could have used the back seats, and this would not have been a problem. And so on. I think we get the point; people just don’t think too often about consequences when they lack focus.
In business, we see it all the time, and without strong leadership, this happens very quickly. People make a plan, talk about it and come to the conclusion that this is the way forward. Very soon people start tweaking agreements to make it more perfect. But for who? “Yes, but I think we need to be flexible?” or “Yes, we need this to be less black-and-white because otherwise, we will lose!” It is all in your minds, folks. Focus is the word you are looking for, and that is why we made a plan. Make sure you go back to that plan and stick with it.
When you focus, and others get sidetracked, you need strong leadership to remind you and your team what the plan was all along
You can use the Ikea example for everything in life. The car is your business, and the folks in your vehicle are your personnel, the space left is growth—and it is not unlimited in the current setup. The same goes for spending the money on that couch or side table. Did you really budget for it? If so, you could have used the extra service Ikea offers at a very small fraction of the price to deliver that same couch or side table to the place you need it. Saves you a fight in the parking lot and keeps you focused because you do not have space at that point in your current plan.
We all know that switching tactics all the time is not a good way to run a business. You need focus to reach your end goal. We are not only talking material discomfort here—it causes a lot of mental distress. When people make plans, they often see and measure that with success. Personal success and business success are not always the same. The moment you switch the focus you get contradictions, and that means people will get hurt in the process of making that switch.
Bottom Line: Focus and contradiction do not go hand-in-hand. When you focus, and others get sidetracked, you need strong leadership to remind you and your team what the plan was all along, and there is no room for excuses, just focus. Change as often as you want, but remember that means there will be zero focus, and that means the results will be disappointing as well. My tip: follow one course until successful.