Everyone talks about sticking to their knitting, but many companies don’t know what their knitting is. According to a Fortune magazine article, “Focus means figuring out, and building on, what the company does best. It means identifying the evolving needs of your customers, then developing the key skills—often called core competencies—critical to serving them. It means setting a clear, realistic mission and then working tirelessly to make sure everyone—from the chairman to the middle manager to the hourly employee understands it.”
In order to be successful, an organization must focus its efforts on those factors that are critical to its success. If you randomly select 50 people in your organization and ask them basic questions about the direction and priorities of the company, how similar would their answers be? When employees don’t know where the company is heading, they can’t be expected to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the organization. They won’t get excited about what they’re doing, or put down their swords and stop the political bickering, and they won’t be passionate about their careers or the future of the organization. Unless you get common answers to the most basic questions, you foster waste, redundancies, inefficiencies, confusion, and anxiety.
When you look at successful small corporations today, many of them have something in common. People have a common sense of purpose, and believe in the founder’s vision. They maintain their individuality, but strive for team gain. People care more about the organization winning than about who gets the next promotion, and they know that resources are limited, so they concentrate them on critical areas rather than squander them. It’s time to get focused.