Focus is power. When decided, committed and executed relentlessly, it leads to strategies that define new industries and new standards. It leads to memorable products and services that redefine or create new categories, while also enhancing people’s lives. Yet, focus is a very rare skill.
If you’re an entrepreneur, a leader, an innovator, you want your thinking to be challenged. One way to do that is to seek out great questions, because great questions are the path to new perspectives and better answers. Bill Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company, wrote a book I believe every entrepreneur should read: Practically Radical.
Let me present you with a situation: Your manager is pushing you to take on more responsibilities. He calls you to his office and hands you a memo that lays out a new project which he asks you to lead. You’re dumbfounded and appreciative for the opportunity, wasn’t expecting it. But, you’re also a little scared to take on such an important project. You begin thinking about how this could be an opportunity for your career but also a threat.
Clear thinking is rare, because thinking is hard. Show me someone who thinks clearly and I’ll want to know their process for achieving it. Personally, I’m more concerned by being seen as someone who thinks clearly than someone that’s called smart. You can be smart, but you won’t be able to communicate and influence if you’re unable to think clearly.
How often do you change your mind? I don’t know of anybody who keeps a journal of the amount of times they change their mind during the day, week, month or year. Changing our mind isn’t something we deliberately aim to do, but it’s necessary for our growth as people. As Adam Grant, author of Originals, says in his book Think Again: changing your mind does not mean you’ve abandoned your principles. It means you’ve evolved.
Do you like making bad decisions? I’m 100% sure you don’t and would rather make good ones. Unfortunately, making good decisions isn’t easy when you don’t know why you make bad ones in the first place. So, why do we make bad decisions? That’s a good place to start…
Most businesses exist in the trap of better, which is a race to commoditization; more of the same. There are no shortage of books, blog posts and articles on how to differentiate a business. There really isn’t a surefire guide on how to achieve game-changing differentiation, but there are principles. How can you differentiate your business?