Intentional Leaders Focus on the Right Things

Every company Yastrow and Company works with faces a unique set of challenges and opportunities. At the same time, we’ve seen some clear patterns. Here’s one I’ve been thinking a lot about lately: when a leadership team is intentional about how they spend their time attention and resources, they’re much more likely to generate results and build a valuable company.

But so often I see leadership teams that aren’t intentional and focused on the right things. Despite how hard these leadership teams are working and how talented they are, they’re not experiencing the success that they should expect. The reason is that they’re not being intentional about how they spend their time, attention and resources.

The 19th century Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard shared a perfect metaphor for this situation: He described the difference between riding a stallion and riding in the back of a hay wagon. The rider of a stallion has a firm grip on the reins and can steer the horse exactly where they want it to go. But a rider in a hay wagon is just along for the ride, and the direction they go is up to the driver. Both get you somewhere, but riding the stallion enables you to take responsibility and take control. The back of the hay wagon may be more comfortable, but you have no control where you end up.

Is your leadership team intentionally driving what’s happening by deciding where to go and what to focus on? Or are you letting things happen to you, focusing on the crises or ad hoc opportunities that appear in front of you?

Peter Drucker, the great business philosopher of the 20th century, said that an effective executive not only focuses on how to do things right, but also focuses on doing the right things. In other words, the most effective executives are intentional about where they spend their energy and attention.

Ask yourself: is our leadership team intentional about focusing on doing the right things? Are we spending a substantial share of our time attention and resources on:

  • Building a team that is committed to our company and to creating amazing experiences for our customers?
  • Motivating our customers to be committed to our company and to act in ways that drive our results?
  • Generating results that not only contribute to our business success today but create a lasting impact well into the future?

If you’d like to talk about getting your leadership team to focus on the right things in your business, get in touch with me at steve@yastrow.com.

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