I am very much a believer in being the best you can be, at what you do best. You can spread yourself out trying to pursue many things and most likely end up being merely mediocre at most of them. Or, you can focus on a few key things that you already do well, and begin to excel in those areas. As I have long advocated, you should leverage your strengths, and not worry too much about your weaknesses.
In a recent article on the HBR blog, Ron Ashkenas wrote about a company that has radically narrowed it’s focus, choosing to let go of dozens of products and services, and instead concentrate on the single core product that they do best. They are taking the doctrine of ‘less is more’ very seriously.
Ashkenas notes that this kind of radical focus is difficult for many leaders, who often ‘act like kids in a candy store’ when it comes to pursuing new and exciting opportunities. He goes on to say,
“It’s a natural human tendency to want to do more. Most of us have trouble walking away from tempting opportunities, whether it’s at the dinner table, or at work. So we end up with indigestion at home and overload at work. That’s why it takes a great deal of discipline, and even courage, to slim down, both physically and strategically.”
As a leader, you should challenge yourself and your team to “stay focused on the few critical strategies and projects that will make the most difference.” While it’s not easy to let go of exciting opportunities, sometimes those ‘opportunities’ are really just distractions from your core mission. Don’t lose sight of your personal and organizational purpose and mission! I guarantee—it will pay off in the end!
As cliché as it may sound, sometimes less really is more. Ask yourself today, what ‘extras’ can and should you eliminate so that you can narrow your focus?
Try a ‘less is more’ strategy this year—the results will be worth it!