Focus® is my #1 talent theme. One example of Focus, for me, is that I first cultivated this strength when I started playing tennis at an early age, and I’ve continued to cultivate it for the last thirty-four years. I remember one of the first phrases I was taught as a tennis player: “Keep your eye on the ball.”
Focused individuals do just that. They have a natural ability to concentrate on a target. They ask themselves each day, “What is my goal? Where am I headed? Where am I going? What is my priority?”
They filter out extraneous distractions, and this is one of the things I enjoy most as a life and business coach—helping people set goals, and at the same time deciding what is extraneous, what they can do without, and what thoughts, behaviors, and actions would make their life richer if they stopped.
People with Focus enjoy creating goals. They enjoy writing purpose statements, lists, and affirmations. They enjoy reviewing their goals on a daily, even hourly basis, and they are relentless on completing what they start.
Focused people have other talents: They are adept at summarizing a meeting when ten different people have shared their thoughts, they can assess appropriate timelines and milestones, and they prioritize before they act. And, while they appear to procrastinate, they tend to do what I call incubating—sorting through data and letting it simmer before acting. They are unusually skilled at staying on track. They may naturally emphasize career goals over relationships.
When interacting with a Focused person, keep in mind that they may come across as unsentimental because they are so focused on an immediate goal that they often forget or ignore others’ feelings.
Four of my top five talent themes are in the Executing and Influencing themes. Those of us with Executing themes want to make sure that things happen and goals are accomplished. People who have the Influencing theme want to step up, speak up, and take charge. We are definitely out there working to make things happen.
My Chief Strategic Officer has three of her top five talent themes in Relationship Building and two in Strategic Thinking. People with the Relationship Building theme are working to build and nurture strong relationships. Those with the Strategic Thinking theme are looking at situations and analyzing information to help make better decisions and create better outcomes.
She has told me on occasion that I am sometimes like working with a fire hose. I am continually coming with new ideas that I want to accomplish. I come at these with high energy and excitement. Though she shares in my enthusiasm for the new ideas, her Strategic Thinking themes have her slow me down, go through the idea and find the best route. We talk about teaming up complementing strengths, and this is an example of how it works.
How can you harness your Focus theme to create new ventures or improve your current ones? Start with your vision – purpose for the business. Write your top 20 Be-Do-Have list every 3 years. I know how big I want my business to be, what I want us to be known for, and how I want it to influence the world. These are great places to start that will give you the insight you need to begin to mold your vision.
Second, track where your business stands today and yearly. You want to answer questions such as:
- Which of your products and services are successful?
- How efficiently are you operating?
- What is your current capacity in terms of staff time, facilities, equipment and information technology?
- Do you have the resources in place to maintain your current business AND grow?
Next, create the road map to meet your vision. My habit is to create a one page business plan of how I’am going to reach my business goals for the year. Now that you know where you want to go and understand where you currently stand, create a simple plan that will get you there. Include financials, look at how you can expand within your current clientele (you didn’t build that email list for nothing), Check out your processes to see how they fit in your growth plan or what changes need to be made.
Lastly, make time for growth. I recommend writing out your ideal weekly calendar. Review it and follow it weekly. It takes time to implement something new or do things you already have in place differently. Your everyday business can take your focus away from the new goals. Make sure you keep focused daily on those new goals. Delegate or outsource tasks, pay attention to your project plan and milestones, make sure you check in on those milestones and your progress toward them, and have an accountability partner. Having someone to share your plans with and talk them over helps ensure you stay with it.
Do you have the CliftonStrengths theme of Focus? How do you use that Focus on growing your business? How does it help you create a clear destination? Please share your comments below.
Not sure where you are and need some conversation around your unique strengths or building your business? Remember you can schedule your Ask Brent Anything call. Let’s talk about strengths.