Make A Difference By Choosing Your Focus

Follow your heart. Trust your gut. Do what you think is best. In business and in life, it can be difficult to know how to focus to make the biggest impact. You don't want your focus to be too broad, but you also don't want to zoom in too much.

Jon Mertz, an author and thought leader, says leaders must know whether to focus wide or narrow in order to make a positive difference. We share his thoughts on focus in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

The value of a wide-angle focus

Mertz says that when leaders have a wide view and juggle different interests, they keep curiosity alive. Being curious is an important element to fostering a growth mindset. Becoming set in your ways is a bigger risk than taking on too many different projects. He says a wide-angle focus also can help make connection points between ideas. Two unrelated areas can unexpectedly find commonality. A wide-angle focus requires good critical-thinking skills in making the link between diverse initiatives and ideas.

The value of a zoom-in focus

According to Mertz, you gain traction by zooming into one project. With diligent focus, gaining momentum may happen more quickly and efficiently. While momentum is good, there is a risk of lessening the impact if it's too narrow. Instead of gaining the support of hundreds of community members, you may only gain half or less. He says another risk is missing the connection points. For example, if you only talk with people in your office and your industry, you may miss a potential diverse idea or best practice and miss seeing how both could expand the possibility of your initiative. Having a zoom-in focus requires good sensory skills.

How to determine your focus: wide-angle or zoom-in

Mertz says how you focus is a personal decision. He encourages leaders to trust their heart and gut while using their mind to evaluate.

  • Gut: Do you feel like you are too stretched and losing effectiveness? If not, stay with the wide-angle. If so, focus on a few.
  • Heart: What encourages you in how you can make a positive impact? Whichever ideas and initiatives meet a high standard of making a positive difference, focus here, says Mertz.
  • Mind: What are the quantitative results of the selected focus areas? If your brain cannot compute a reasonable path forward to achieve a quantitative difference, then drop the idea or initiative. Focus on the ones that will make a quantifiable difference.

Mertz says that examining the gut, heart and mind alignment is the best way to determine focus. It takes quiet time to discern the right decision. If you remain stuck, it may be time to have a collaborative and accountable conversation with a friend or colleague. Talking it through triggers other brain, heart and gut connections to shine a light on what should happen next.

When you have a connection between brain, heart and gut, then good things happen, whether you take a broad or narrow focus. If you see a connection between interests and projects, you can expect to make a positive difference.

Source: Jon Mertz is one of the Top 100 thought leaders in trustworthy business and has been highlighted as one of the leaders to watch by the American Management Association. He also is the author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders.

filed under September 2019
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