I just returned from the annual Entrepreneurial Women Presidents retreat in Austin. It’s my three day escape from daily life to work ON my business rather than IN my business. This group, comprised of some two dozen women business owners in a variety of industries, has been a source of inspiration and ideas for quite a few years.
Our theme this year was FOCUS and based on Daniel Goleman’s book, FOCUS: The Hidden Driver of Excellence (Amazon link). The book itself is a fascinating read, weaving in academic research findings, historical references and timely anecdotes. Logical in order, the book takes us from the inside self to others and how to help create a smart, focused team and how to ultimately translate those skills to a greater common good – some great leadership points for all executives to remember. A few takeaways that I know are true for our team:
- Take time to daydream, brainstorm and escape into a “creative cocoon.” The mind needs time to process information and allow those gems to percolate to the surface. Even just five minutes of mindful breathing can help reset your focus and allow you to tackle a topic with more vigor. The book shares that most executives are scheduled within 15 minutes at all times, so when do we have time to breathe and reflect?
- Create work blocks or “attention chunks” – focused attention – of time to tackle those bigger projects that weigh you down. Simply breaking them into half hour or two hour windows helps them seem manageable and allows you to move the needle. We do this in our office with great results. We also practice the daily priority list to outline our two biggest tasks to complete in a day; this small step helps us focus on what’s important.
- Be present with your team by: listening first to yourself to outline your authentic view of what you want for your business or project and relaying that to your team to energize them; coaching your team and empowering them to achieve their goals (without meddling in their daily work); collaborating with your team and other experts to build something better; and celebrating wins and milestones.
As you might guess, your focus is your reality. Or as one participant said, “Optimal focus gives optimal results.” Let’s take time this year to add focus to our efforts.