During the research phase of a mission focus and brand development project, a participant declared:
“I understand why focus is so important. As a board, we're busy doing our thing, advancing our cause, executing on our mission. We don't pay attention to the things that a business person would. Running the nonprofit, marketing, communications, our web site, our brand. I realize how important those things are, but we just don’t make time or find funding for them.”
The same is relevant for leaders of business organizations. Your ability to remain focused and prioritize essential communications is critical.
When we struggle with focus, what impact does it have on communication?
Shouldn’t our communications be focused on one purpose, one mission, and one cause? If so, why is it a challenge to share our purpose with one voice?
In most communications—sales, marketing, donor appeals, and especially storytelling—the emphasis is on the company or cause, and not the customer.
When your organization feels it needs to craft a narrative to convince people to buy or donate, do you find that you’re trying to share too much, and in the end, your customers are tuning you out?
People are already overwhelmed with too many choices to listen to. When they get overwhelmed, they stop listening.
Even the best messaging is ignored if nobody is listening.
Are you concerned that people aren't listening to your message? Learn how a clear and compelling narrative will help your organization grow.
Distraction is the enemy of focus. Lack of clarity is the byproduct.
With many possibilities in business and life to pursue opportunity and use your time, talent, and treasure, no wonder it is a challenge to stay focused.
Focus keeps you aligned with your purpose, goals, and vision.
Focus comes from having a clear purpose; keeping your eyes fixed on a clear vision of where you are going, avoiding the distraction of other good (even great) things that demand your attention.
My father often reminds me “sometimes you must choose between best and best, not just better and best.”
Your focus is where your time and attention centers. You lose focus when you take your eyes off the goal you wish to attain, the prize you are hoping to gain, or the promise you work to keep.
There are myriad possibilities to pursue that promise to grow your business, advance your cause, expand your influence, and increase your opportunity.
You can’t pursue every one of them. Possibility is found at the intersection of many paths; opportunity is the path you choose to take to get to your destination.
You will lose focus if your eyes are on the finish than on the road before you. Strategy has to come before action; training before the race. Know what end you have in mind (write it down) and focus your time and attention on what it will take to get you there.
To achieve the communication goals that support your business and revenue, you must eliminate possibilities that keep you from staying focused on the things you do best.
All things are possible; it’s the opportunity that enables you to move toward the goal.
A Simple Strategy for Communications: Be Focused
Focused leaders practice clarity in their communications. Focus comes from clarity when your marketing flows from your purpose and helps you articulate your mission.
The principle is a guide for people struggling with focus:
“Today, I will be focused. I will focus my communications (and action) on one cause, one mission, and one purpose. I will share and lead with one purpose and one voice.”
A focused leader cannot risk the hazards of distraction. When you take your eyes off the goal, you tend to drift off course when focused on minutiae, and the miss details when too focused on the big picture.
To the people you lead, a distracted leader can appear arrogant or aloof. Responsibilities begin to take priority over relationships. Multiply that to an organizational level, and it begins to shift the brand personality of the organization away from a culture of empowerment to a culture where people don’t have as much value as programs.
The effectiveness of your leadership diminishes when your focus is on programs and performance over people. Results matter, but effective leaders will empower the people with whom they work to achieve anticipated results.
Every time you speak or write, it creates an impression of your leadership. Communications is the language of leadership, and your voice is the one people listen to and follow.
How you communicate creates tremendous impact:
- The quality of your leadership is magnified by the clarity of your communications.
- The integrity of your leadership is enriched by the truth of your communications.
- The legacy of your leadership is measured by the impact of your communications.
A Brand Personality Assessment will help you understand how your organization makes people feel — and why it matters.
Choose Your Values Wisely
As a leader, you have two values from which to lead: pride or humility.
- Pride will lead you down a path of damaged relationships and destroys your reputation.
- Humility will lead you to honor and respect (and loyalty from those whom you lead).
Upon what value will you base your leadership and relationships?
Without focus, possibilities become obstacles disguised as opportunity. You must eliminate possibilities that may be good to focus on the opportunities that are best for your organization (and by extension, you) and the vision you want to achieve.
Without focus, your leadership is unsustainable, and your ability to simplify your objectives, clarify your message, and magnify your impact is reduced.
The key to being focused? Think about the people your organization serves and the promise you’ve made to them. Think about what they need, then act on it.
You’ll find this strategy for focus helps you achieve greater and stay true to your mission—and your messaging.
If you struggle with creating a focused culture of communications, “Raise Your Voice: A Cause Manifesto” will help you understand why your focus must be on the people who buy or donate to your organization. Buy it today!