With a vast number of opportunities to consider for your organization, how do you choose the ones that are most likely to bring you success? You need a reliable method for determining which opportunities to focus on. Here’s how to make decision-making easier: Focus your attention on your intention. This post expands upon my February 9, 2016 blog post, “The Expansive Power of Vision“.
Given that so many interests and choices always compete for your precious resources, how do you decide which are most important to you and your organization?
In my years of professional facilitation and personal experience, I have come to believe in the value and power of a universal principle that has helped me and my clients to make effective, timely decisions—when to say “yes” to an opportunity and when to say “no”.
This universal principle—called the Law of Attraction—states that whatever we focus our attention on gains strength and attracts more of the same. It is perhaps the most consistent and visible demonstration of the Law of Cause and Effect.
What you focus on expands and grows stronger. So why not focus upon what you want, rather than upon what you don’t want? When you focus your attention (thoughts and actions) upon your intention (mission, vision, values, etc.), you send a clear message about what’s important to you and your organization.
“What you focus on expands and grows stronger.”
If you have ever seen the movie Patch Adams—based on a true story—you will remember that Robin Williams, who played Patch, checked himself into a mental hospital in an attempt to escape his problems. As an orderly escorted Patch to the common area, a resident patient jumped in front of Patch, held up four fingers in front of his face, and excitedly asked, “How many? How many fingers?” Surprised, Patch responded quickly, “Four!” In disgust, the patient blurted, “IDIOT!” and ran off.
Eventually, Patch discovered that the patient was a brilliant scientist named Arthur Mendelson. In a subsequent scene, Patch entered Arthur’s room and asked what the four fingers meant. Arthur asked Patch to hold up four fingers in front of his face. Then, Arthur asked again, “How many?” Patch again said, “Four.” Then Arthur told Patch not to focus on the fingers–to look past the fingers. When Patch looked past his fingers, they appeared to be transparent; and he saw eight fingers. Patch said, “Eight!”
“That’s right!” Arthur encouraged Patch. “Don’t focus on the problem—focus on the solution.”
“Don’t focus on the problem—focus on the solution.”
Applying Arthur’s wisdom of focusing on solutions and goals, you will discover that problems don’t appear so daunting. That’s what goal-setting will do for you and your organization—it will cause you to focus on what you want and what is important and constructive.
By taking time to clarify your purpose, mission, values, and vision, you will form the “Cone of Influence” for your organization. Then, by setting goals in alignment with this Cone of Influence, you will move purposefully toward their realization and create a greater chance for employee fulfillment. All these elements, working together, will complete your picture of success.
Defining your unique “Cone of Influence” will make it clearer to you which opportunities (symbolized by the stars) to say “yes” to, and which ones to say “no” to. Opportunities within your “Cone” will be in alignment with what is important to you. For those opportunities that are outside your “Cone,” you can quickly say “no” and avoid wasting your precious time, resources, and energy. It is all about making sure that, in each present moment—right now—you focus on what matters most to you.
To be successful as an organization make sure that everything you and your employees do is in alignment with what is most important to the organization—by “focusing your attention on your intention.” (See Figure 6.) This model is actually a simplified way of showing how all the elements of the strategic planning process unfold and support each other—all leading to the wisest use of each moment of “now.”
Here’s how it works:
- The Purpose, Values, Mission, and Vision form the “Cone of Influence” of your organization. These elements define the depth and breadth of what is important to your organization. The more lofty the Vision, the wider is the Cone of Influence.
- The stars represent opportunities to expend or invest resources. Stars that are located outside the Cone of Influence represent opportunities to which you should say “no.” They are not in alignment with the direction of your organization. Stars that appear within the Cone of Influence represent opportunities to which you could say “yes,” depending on available resources. These are opportunities in alignment with what is important to your organization.
- When Goals and Action Plans are developed for those opportunities within the Cone of Influence, they will help fulfill the Purpose, Mission, Values and Vision of your organization. Any pursuits of opportunities outside that realm will be wasted, scattered energy.
Is your organization focused on what matters most?
Much success and fulfillment,
(Adapted from Chapter 7 of my new book Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Read free chapters and learn more at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz .)