Have you ever worked in an environment where you’re focused on too many things and everything seems blurred?
We are going to look at working on a few things and doing them with excellence. So that what you execute is done sharply, concisely and everyone in the team does an excellent job.
Working with a senior leader in an ambulance service, she was responsible for 300-400 people. We got talking about how busy she was and that she found herself prioritising too many tasks, too many goals, and was basically chasing her tail. She then went on to explain that this was a rampant kind of behavior in her team, everyone was working on so many priorities and she felt that everything was being done with mediocrity.
So I brought this challenge within the coaching, which was, why are you doing and focusing on so much? It seems like everything is blurred? Have you ever felt like that? Well this person did, and I began to explain to her the research about focusing on a few goals and what happens with achieving those goals with excellence compared to people who have many tasks, many goals and what happens in how they achieve their tasks with mediocrity. If you were to focus on a lot of priorities, say 20 goals at any one time, do you know how many of those goals you will do with an excellent standard? None. 100% of your tasks, those 20 goals, will be done with mediocrity. Average. Now both you and I, as people who want to be great leaders, will find that really disheartening because no one wants to be average, no one wants to produce average results. Have you ever worked in an environment where your just going through the motions? Just pushing out stuff that’s average? Well that because there are too many priorities.
So what do you do ?
What about reducing the priorities from 10 to 20? If you have 10 goals to focus on, you will only do 3 with excellence, that’s a 15% – 30% success rate of doing things excellently. The majority of your work, 70% will be done with mediocrity. What will that have on the atmosphere within your team? The majority of the time things will be done with an average type of product output and then only a few times will things be done in an excellent manner, but can we turn that around ? Well yes. Research has shown that if you only focus on a few things, 2 to 3 really important goals, you will do all 3 with excellence. 100% of what you focus on will be done with excellence.
Now imagine this, if you were doing and focusing on a few things and consistently produced 100% excellent outcomes all the time, what impact will that have on you team? Well this is the question I gave to the senior leader within the ambulance service who was working with 300-400 people. She began to re-prioritise, and minimise her diary and focus on a few really important goals, 3. She achieved those with excellence, and what happened over a period of a year, the culture began to change in her immediate team and throughout the whole organisation of her department. There was a rise in expectation that people began to produce outcomes which were excellent all the time. So the lesson here is, if you are juggling 20 things, forget it, re-prioritise. If you are juggling 10 goals, forget it, re-prioritise. The challenge is focus on a few, 3 really important goals and do them with excellence. This will not only give you the space to focus on more broader issues within your team, but also give you a culture of excellence within your team.