sharpen your focus

Better! Results Idea #2: Focus

Session three of my coaching engagement with Jerry. He keeps bringing the discussion back to a very minor performance issue that he was working on at his job. As I glanced at the clock, I realized he had just consumed 20 minutes of our hour long meeting obsessing on just one minor symptom of his performance. There was no way we were going to have to for the really important stuff on the agenda: the core issues that could move the needle. As his business performance coach, I could see why his supervisors were so frustrated.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s our work or personal life. When we’re building on our strengths and fixing our weaknesses, we absolutely must target our efforts on what’s most important for our results. In short, we have to bring laser-like focus to what absolutely must be addressed to jump our results towards our goals.

Focus is critical for accelerated results.

There is a ton of useful guidance on this topic in a 1996 book by Al Reis titled Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It. To make his point, Reis uses hundreds of examples of brand-name companies who lost their focus by Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It.trying to be all things to all people rather than staying committed and dominating the one or two things they do absolutely the best. He creates a strong case for corporate and brand specialization. And he presents convincing examples of what happens to those who lose their focus. Many of these 1996 powerhouse organizations are no longer around.

While his primary message is directed at corporate leaders, it was an easy jump to take his findings and relate them to the performance of individuals like Jerry (and me!). Intense focus on what we do best speeds up our results; distracted focus by spreading our time and efforts to busywork and dozens of other diverse tasks slows us down and makes us a commodity in the workplace.

A human commodity can be easily replaced in the workplace. But a critical expert specialist?

Here are a few questions to sharpen your focus:

  1. Can you summarize what you do best in a short, clear, unforgettable statement?

Be factual, but bold in your statement. In my performance coaching and business consulting work, “I teach you how to get extraordinary results in six steps.” In the fraud prevention portion of my work, “I teach you and your employees Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It.how to prevent fraud.”

What’s your ‘branding statement’? Write it out right now. Then say it out loud to see how it feels.

  1. What do you do every day to increase your ability in your area of expertise?

Do you read, watch videos by other experts in your field, or take classes? How about this: do you actively practice your craft? Practice gets us ready for the moment when opportunity sits before us. Because we’ve run the drills in practice, muscle-memory will kick in and guide our efforts at critical moments.

  1. Do others know about your expertise?

Good work must be visible. You must make your expertise apparent to others without bragging about it. You do this through writing ‘how to’ articles on your specialty, speaking about your specialty in training classes, webinars and other education events, and by volunteering to help others who are learning your specialty as well. Don’t worry about them stealing the show; you’ll always be the wise expert leader that got them to their own level of expertise.

What’s your specialty? Do you bring ‘focus’ to your efforts? Are you working consciously every day to master this specialty?

Let me know what works for you.

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

battle plan for auditors

How to Be Productive With Your Job Hunt

There’s no getting around it: hunting for jobs is a pain. It’s time consuming, stressful and occasionally disheartening. Worst of all, it’s easy to lose focus, potentially keeping you unemployed for even longer.

However, there are certain steps you can take to be more productive with your job hunt and avoid losing focus. You’ve probably heard this before, but just in case: when you’re unemployed and searching for a job, you need to think of your job search as your full-time job. Treating your search this way makes it much more likely to yield results.

Here are some tips that you should consider:

  • Plan out your days. Just as you would with an average work day, plan out what your days look like while on the job hunt. You might reserve certain days for networking sessions, or set aside blocks of hours looking job huntingfor jobs online. You should also reserve time to tweak your resume, fill out applications, write letters, etc. Stay organized with your planning so that you start to get yourself into a routine; that makes it much easier to stay focused.
  • Track everything. Keep a thorough spreadsheet of all your job seeking activities. Track the jobs that you’ve applied for, when you applied for them, who your contact person was and when you followed up. You should also track all of the networking contacts you’ve made and when you had correspondence with them. Update this spreadsheet regularly to make sure that you’re staying organized.
  • Take advantage of technology. Use social networking or job hunting sites to your advantage. Many of them even have email alert systems when jobs that match your searches or your qualifications show up. You can get alerts as soon as listings are posted, so you can have an inside track on applications.
  • Revise your resume and cover letter for each application. You won’t find great results if you use the same generic resume and cover letter for every position you pursue. Research the target organization and what they’re looking for in an applicant so you have a better understanding of how to frame your application materials.
  • Keep your schedule arranged like you would at work. Get up early, stay well groomed and dressed, take lunch breaks and call an end to your job hunting activities by a certain time of the day. This will make your transition into your eventual new job a lot easier, and also keep you more productive during your search.

Getting that important work position is critical. Take these and other steps that each increase the probability of a successful pursuit. Good hunting!

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

 

 

 

 

 

 

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events.

Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”