Kristin Zhivago asked a question that really got me to thinking last week ... are you a blind CEO? Truth be told, we all feel like we're flying a little blind these days. Some much data is being produced that is contradictory that our future outlooks are at best mostly confused. Many leaders ARE letting the situation overwhelm them and retreating back into a viewpoint that they should fly at 30,000 feet through all of this. As Kristin rightly pointed out, it's a perspective that just might kill you and your company right now because it keeps you away from focusing your business on the things that really matter right now.
- The value of your product.
- The agility of your business to align to current customer needs.
- The ability of your workforce to produce meaningful results.
A good bit of value can get lost while you're looking at financial statements and figuring out how to keep the lights on in the building. A friend of mine and I got to talking about what perspective is needed today and he made a pretty perceptive comment.
Just focus on the next fencepost!
Sounded like old Texas wisdom to me and it turned out it was. When you've got a 1000 acre ranch in Texas and you and a small crew decide it's time to build a new fence around the perimeter, it's a big job. But not necessarily an overwhelming one if you approach like the wise old ranch hand. He has no time schedule that he marches to, nor does he allow he and his crew to be driven by the vagaries of weather, the interruption of other events, or the magnitude of the effort. They simply focus on getting the next fencepost put in right and move forward on their journey to secure the property.
What is your next fencepost? Pick out the problem that is bottlenecking your organization more than any other focus your energies on it completely. Make it a priority for your team as well. Study how you can do it well and make sure that your fix is sustainable. Lay it in and celebrate your success. Your business has moved one step forward and done something meaningful.
How much better off would we all be if we put our blinders on where the economy is concerned (cause that's really the weather) and took them off where it really matters most (the fundamental ingredients in our business that contribute to meaningful customer value)? The process of tuning in isn't just a strategic focus, it's tactical and day-to-day issues as well.
Focus on the next fencepost.