Being obsessed and focused is not an either/or kind of thing. It is “yes/and” at its core. We need to be obsessed AND we need to be focused. We need to be passionate about our focus on the things that make a difference for our customers and will transform us into a digital business.
Obsession is more an emotion. Focus is more intent and then execution. It is all well and good to focus on customers. What level of focus is that? Moderate? High? The range of focus doesn’t qualify the intensity of the focus.
Obsession is clear. You think of nothing else. All you really care about is the experience and loyalty that your customers have with you. Obsession is focus on steroids. When all you care about is your customers, which is real focus, then you have moved to obsession.
Focus narrows intent and execution of strategy. Strategy, at many levels, is about choices and tradeoffs. It recognizes that we can do everything. What will make a difference to our customers? What will not, and hence, can come off our plates?
The great thing about obsession and focus. It will pay off for your customers, you and your company. And you know it in your gut. Being obsessed is about passion and energy. Being focused is about clear execution of the few things that make a difference. Being passionate about the few things that make a difference is the name of the game.
When you get up in the morning, what gives you energy? Is the first thing you think of is “what can I improve” for my customers over the next 3 months?
There is probably a “burning imperative” or “burning platform” that can help focus everyone. Leaders and managers need to find it and articulate why it needs to be addressed. This is the framework of transformation.
Obsession, much more than focus, brings clarity and drive. What do you want to accomplish with your customer initiatives? What are you obsessed with that will make a difference? The answers to these questions bring clarity.
Knowing what will make a difference over a 3 to 6 month horizon is a huge driver. Devoting every minute that you can to take the customer experience to a new level will produce results for your obsession and the focus you bring to it.
Focus is important. It is not to be over looked. It is easy to say you should be passionate. It is hard to say what you should focus on. Your passion and the discovery you make as a result of it will give you hints about the focus.
Deciding on a focus area that delivers a quick, early win can really rally everyone to get on board with focus areas. In addition, one over-riding message can radically improve communication for transformation efforts.
There needs to be a balance between passion and focus. They both, however, are critical to building a digital business. Having neither passion nor focus is an invitation to disaster.
It is everyone’s job to bring a health mix of obsessing over customers and focusing on the few things that bring about transformation and results. Senior management bears a heavy burden to help staff focus. Senior management can remove barriers, devote resources and help set priorities.
Here are the key ideas:
- Passion for the customer and focus on the critical few need to be balanced.
- Put all the energy you can into the critical few
- Start with a burning imperative to create singular focus
- Delivering one early win gives the team confidence
- Driving one over-riding message improves communication