Best of CoBiz: Top 10 reasons to focus on three things

I’ve noticed a growing trend of Top 10 lists on various sites. There are even Top 10 lists dedicated to why Top 10 lists are so popular. And I see why people like these lists – easy to assimilate and plays into our bullet point world.

Is 10 the magic number though? Is five seen as too few, and 20 out of the question? Top 10 places to live. Top 10 reasons to quit your job. Top 10 beers to drink while creating your Top 10 list.

With everything around us moving faster and commanding our attention, I’d argue that we should limit, not expand our focus. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying you shouldn’t multitask, which would be absurd advice in this day and age.

I do believe, however, we should take a surgical, versus shotgun, approach to what is more important as leaders, managers, business owners, parents, spouses, etc. Less is more, if you will. Instead of dedicating yourself to a Top 10 list, my advice is to identify three critical items that will help ensure the success of your endeavors. Personally, as a leader and entrepreneur I try my best to keep my eye on these three items: financial goals, new product goals and people goals.

There is nothing profound in this advice. After all, these three areas are critical to the success of most organizations. Yet I oftentimes find myself distracted with the realities of the day-to-day responsibilities.

As leaders we all juggle innumerable priorities, and it can be tough to maintain our focus. Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at our own goal setting and planning processes to see where we can gain leverage.

The following questions help organize my thoughts during the chaotic business days and help plot the critical path for projects:

• What needs to be accomplished?
• What is the desired result?
• What are the main tasks?
• What specific action steps are required for each main task?
• Who will be responsible for each step?
• How much time will each task take?
• Which tasks need to be done in sequence, versus simultaneously?

Oh, and in case you are counting – those are seven questions, not 10.

Categories: Management & Leadership