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How do you stay focused on the important things – not just the urgent?  If a tsunami affected your business tomorrow, would you and your company still stay on track with your plan?

I’m not joking.  A few years ago that exact scenario happened to one of our clients, Performance Controls, who was doing a lot of work with Hitachi.  When the tsunami hit Japan back in 2011, our client – along with many Japanese companies and others who did business in Japan, were in crisis management and recovery mode. Most importantly, Performance Controls didn’t lose anyone.

And, thanks to the “Scaling Up” process and the CEO’s leadership, the executive team had a plan, were aligned to their priorities, and had great meeting rhythms. They remained focused despite the turbulence, and still hit most of their goals for the year, despite the disaster. While the company missed their overall revenue and profitability goals, it wasn’t by much. If they hadn’t been clear on what their number one goal had been, Perry Walraven, the CEO later shared, the disaster really would have thrown them off track.

So what’s your “tsunami” goal and how will you stay focused?  If your business was hit by a major crisis tomorrow, would you be able to stay focused on your goals and deal with the disaster?

At our Think Tank Roundtable meetings in January, we’ll do what we do at the beginning of every quarter – take a few minutes to reflect on our biggest learning from the last 90 days and then commit to our #1 priority for the upcoming quarter – the “tsunami” priority.  The one thing that you’ll get done no matter what – even if you get hit by a tsunami.

Although I hope that you will never be affected by a Tsunami or any other natural disaster, we all know how unpredictable our world is.  So how do you stay focused and on track – with or without a crisis?

I’ve found that there are 4 R’s for dealing with business temptation and staying on track and on plan, but first you need to know, articulate and write down your TOP priorities and – determine what needs to wait. 

(Notice I said “wait” – another way of saying “not yet”.  There are many moving parts to running a business and while we ultimately need to get most things accomplished, having too much on your plate will just result in a big case of indigestion.)

 As for the 4 steps?

  1. Reflect – on what you’ve done over the past 90 days, what’s been accomplished and what you’ve you learned about yourself, your team and your business that you want to apply going forward.
  2. Remind – yourself of what you thought you could accomplish and think about what’s now realistic based on your experience.  A quarter is a 13 week race and 90 days goes by really quickly.  Be realistic in your planning.
  3. Re-set – your plan based on the above.  There may be no change, there may be minor tweaks and there may be a major re-boot – it all depends on assessing your current situation but if you don’t take the time to do so, you’ll soon fall off track and…
  4. Resist – the temptation that you can do this alone.  The major reason we set our priorities as a Think Tank Group is that everyone makes a verbal and written commitment to the other members, there’s power in peer pressure to ensure that things get done and they also pick an “accountability partner” who will help them accomplish the tasks, give them coaching and perspective OR just hold their feet to the fire.

Simple really….it’s not rocket science.  But it works!

You certainly don’t deal with a disaster on your own…Similarly if you’re struggling to stay on track and focused in the midst of “urgent but not as important” items, you may want to consider attending our upcoming “Scaling Up Workshop” on January 18th.  Click here for more info and to register.



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