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How CEOs Can Leverage Focus

Updated: Oct 27, 2023


Focus for business success


My wife is able to maintain an extraordinary level of focus. Each of my 5 children will attest to that fact. My eldest even remembers holding my wife's face between her hands, forcing eye contact to make sure her mother heard where she was going and when she would be back. Even with such measures, my dear wife was somehow still able to stay focused on her task, and she could forget where our daughter had said she would be!


Now, very few can maintain such superhuman focus - I wish I were more naturally like my wife in that way. But maintaining focus is a key ingredient for business success. It allows CEOs especially to make deliberate decisions, create long-term strategies, and build sustainable businesses. On the other hand, losing or maintaining the wrong focus can have negative consequences that ripple throughout the organization (or cause you to forget where you teenager said she would be). It is crucial for CEOs to recognize the importance and quality of their focus and to actively work to maintain it.


A great example of a CEO who exemplified the power of focus is Bob. As his launch date approached, investors started showing interest in his business. Instead of jumping at the opportunity for immediate investment, Bob took a different (and uncommon) approach. He built up an emotional commitment from these investors by providing long-term, focused relationship-building exercises on a six-month schedule. By the time he needed a financial boost, he already had a pipeline of interested investors to choose from. Bob's ability to maintain his focus on building relationships before the business required investment funds allowed him to garner success, even during tough times. This deliberate focus and patient implementation of a designed plan proved to be crucial for his business.


Understanding and leveraging one's strengths are vital components of maintaining focus. Bob understood his strengths and superpowers, and he leveraged them to his advantage. He had a strong family background and throughout his journey as a CEO, he strived for balance and forgiveness, both in his personal and business life. By acknowledging and accepting mistakes, Bob was able to learn from them and continue growing. This understanding of his strengths and areas for improvement allowed him to maintain focus on his core competencies and the bigger picture. Recognizing strengths and weaknesses allows CEO’s to focus on what they do best.


Another CEO I have mentioned before, Teri, serves as an example of the consequences of losing focus on one's strengths. As a result of not utilizing her talents and gifts, tension and stress started to emerge among her executive leaders, leading to a decline in performance. Teri had to disassociate personal contribution from value and allow others to take up the slack in the areas where she felt she had to do it all. Once she hired an executive coach, redirected her focus on her strengths and allowed others to contribute their expertise, her company's performance improved. Teri's story highlights the importance of recognizing and applying strengths to maintain and build focus.


Here are some of the best supports to leverage better focus:


1) Focus on internal elements of the startup. CEOs should take the time to think deeply, strategize, and motivate themselves and their teams. This requires deep thinking, keen focus, and delegation.


2) CEOs must delegate responsibilities to senior executives to free up their time and energy to contribute their strengths and talents to the business. By engaging the expertise of senior executives, CEOs ensure that their startups receive the full benefit of their and their team's capabilities.


3) A well-rounded board of directors is another important aspect of maintaining focus. CEOs must have an honest and unbiased board that challenges their thinking and provides valuable insights. Having at least one independent board member ensures diversity of thought and helps CEOs stay on track.


4) CEOs need to find a balance between different aspects of their lives. Having a holistic approach will allow you to make the greatest short- and long-term impact. Emotional clarity and muscle memory play a crucial role in achieving this balance. By rewiring yourself and addressing internal obstacles, a great CEO can tap into their full potential.


5) Understanding oneself and fixing internal issues is a powerful tool for success. By addressing and overcoming personal obstacles, CEOs can build healthier support from investors, who will have more confidence in their abilities. This support in turn allows CEOs to make a greater impact on their businesses.


Focus is a key factor in business success. CEOs who maintain focus can make deliberate decisions, build relationships, leverage their strengths, invest in soft skills training, recognize and apply strengths, delegate responsibilities, have a well-rounded board, and achieve personal growth. By actively incorporating these elements, CEOs can pave the way for lasting focus and success.


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