Focus: Urgency VS Importance


What is Focus?

Focus is when you concentrate or put your attention on something. In today’s world, there are many things competing for our focus.  Work, kids, notifications, social media, games, parents, pets, etc. Many of these things are necessary, and some are distractions.  What sorts of things grab your attention?   What are some strategies that you employ to keep your focus on things that are important and minimize distractions? 

Day and age of distractions

As humans, especially in a day and age of technology, we often can get distracted by non-essential things. My daughter has her focus on one thing and one thing only: her iPad. Unfortunately, there are many other things that I would rather she focus on, so we have a saying: “Do what needs to be done before you do what wants to be done.”  Brush your teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to school, play the piano, do your homework, attend practice, and eat dinner and then you can play on your iPad.

Admittedly, I sometimes have to do the same. When I get distracted by apps on my own phone, calls, emails, texts, or even a thought in my head that makes me want to research things, like why can kids not focus, when I should be searching for why can’t humans focus?

It reminds me of the movie, “The Social Dilemma.” The film reveals that most of the games and social media we know so well have been invented in the past 10-20 years and actually incorporate things that help us focus on them, based on some behavioral psychology courses taught at Stanford.

Maybe we could harness this idea to help us focus on what needs to get done in our daily life, as opposed to how many aliens we can kill, blocks we can destroy, gems we can link, or likes on our blogs and posts, or pictures we post. I believe this proves that the ability to focus is limited. What do we do about that? I found this video the other day and used it to talk about rocks for a company the other day.

Focus and the rock analogy  

Essentially, rocks are Imperatives. Now, let’s apply this analogy if you’re a business owner. Rocks are the essential things in your life and things that need to get done to help your business grow. Next is the gravel. Gravel is the things that are less essential and are tasks that need to be executed for your business to run because your company needs to be making money to pay the bills. Finally, there is the sand, which represents hassles, interruptions, and other things that take up your time while creating friction and may even keep you from getting the important (rocks) things done in your day-to-day.

Important vs. Urgency 

Another way of looking at this would be to graph the things you do in your day, week, and month and figure out which of the boxes below you spend most of your time in?  

If I can spend most of my time in the green box, then I am likely not getting too many things in my red box. If I spend most of my time in the black box, I probably have a lot to do in the red and blue boxes.

Remember, the rocks are the essential things in your life and business. When you focus on working on the important things with a plan for decomposing larger goals into smaller tasks to complete work, this can help you minimize the red. That to me is something I call focus.

In our last blog, we talked about vision and visionaries.  One of the best ways to create a vision is to figure out what you want your future state to look like, then create a focused plan to make it happen.

With the plan, you need to focus your effort on executing it as opposed to making decisions that pull you away from your plan.

In EOS, (Traction), how you should review and reset your plan every 90 days because human beings tend to start to drift by this point. In addition, the utility of frequent meetings (weekly) keeps people accountable and focused on getting important stuff done.

But the Distractions…

In the video, you notice the things that keep filling up the time, are smaller than rocks, the gravel, and the sand.  Maybe it’s the liquid mud that are the distractions that we spend too much time with and return almost no value to us.  The social media, the video games, etc.  It’s not that these things are not enjoyable or valuable to keep abreast of, but the concept of putting first things first and focusing on what needs to be done vs. what wants to be done is also important.  Just like my daughter’s iPad, look at these things as extra rewards for completing the “rock” tasks that you need to get done.  

Another idea is to silence your notifications on your computer and your phone.  This can help keep your focus on the task at hand and not be pulled into other things that are not as critical.  I have one friend who removed all apps from her phone that distracted her and left all her social media and games on her tablet, which she could then decide when she wanted to use those things, but would switch devices.  There is also a new phone, the Light Phone, which comes, pre-unloaded.  Free of distracting apps, and with no way to add any to it.  

Tackship Consulting Can Help

Activate your passion, and optimize your performance with Tackship Consulting. If this is something that you would like to work on within your company, please set up a time to meet with me here.

Developing A Healthy Mindset


What Is Mindset?

According to Verywell Mind, “mindset” is “a set of beliefs that shape how you make sense of the world and yourself. It influences how you think, feel, and behave in any given situation.” 

What this means is that the way you see things, and how you think or behave can influence your perspective on not only yourself but also the world around you.

The Importance of Your Mindset

Your mindset is essential when it comes to how you deal with the things, people, events, and ideas that shape your life. If you see things in black and white, or as good or bad, then you’ll get into a habit of seeing and reacting with that perspective. 

The same is true with the people that you surround yourself with because if you start out with a positive attitude and a positive mindset, but then surround yourself with people who only see the negative, their negativity will start to impact you. Surrounding yourself with people that will support you will help reflect the type of person you want to be (or become). 

How To Develop A Healthy Mindset

When it comes to developing a healthy mindset, it’s important to look at the two common ways that people often view situations, in both their personal and professional life. Those two ways of thinking are called “growth” or “fixed” mindset. To get a better sense between the two, let me share a table that showcases the differences.

Growth MindsetFixed Mindset
You can develop your intelligence throughout your lifeYou can’t grow your intelligence; it’s fixed
Always willing to try something new and to challenge yourselfDon’t want to chance failure, so you avoid challenges
Effort and continuous practice can help you master somethingYour skills are intact so practice isn’t essential
Failure is only temporary; use it as an opportunity to learn and growTemporary setbacks are seen as permanent failures
Seeing other people succeed is a form of inspiration to continue to work hard and achieve your goalsSeeing someone else succeed can lead to jealousy
Feedback allows you to grow, learn, and do better next timeFeedback is an attack on you personally, and you choose to ignore the recommendations

What this table makes clear is that someone with a growth mindset isn’t afraid of failure; they accept it as an opportunity to learn, and evolve, so that they can reach their goals. Someone with a fixed mindset wants to hide their mistakes and imperfections so that they don’t feel ashamed of their failure– in a sense, they want to seen as having their act together and looking “perfect” on the outside.

As humans, we need to continue to learn, expand our horizons, and so a growth mindset is important. Now, we aren’t saying that if you have a fixed mindset that there is something wrong with you because there isn’t. What we mean is that to help continue to become the best versions of ourselves, we have to be willing to step outside of our comfort zone to grow.

We are here to help

As an executive coach, I’ve been trained and certified to help clients explore their goals, work on creating a better mindset, and how to implement these steps into their everyday life. 

If you’re interested in how you can activate your passion, and optimize your performance with Tackship Consulting click here to schedule a FREE consultation. 

The Process Component of Traction

The Process Component of Traction

Your Values & “Why”

There is a lot of value to “why” your company does something. The why can help your customers resonate with your product or service or potentially even your ability to attract and retain talent. 

A process is the “how” you interact and serve your customers. In the Traction book, it’s referred to as the “way” you conduct business. It is an essential aspect of the definition of your company. If your team can articulate it, it gives you an air of professionalism, giving confidence to your customers that you know what you are doing.

The process is often associated with large corporations and can also be associated with bureaucracy or rigidity that does not allow for creativity. However, everything we do in life follows processes.

Processes are a part of life

What we do when we wake up in the morning, to our arrival at work, is all a process that we do every day. Similarly, how you serve your customers can be easily articulated. When you document your process, you can better understand customer touchpoints and who is interacting with the customers– allowing you to better train employees.

Likely, you have sales/marketing and operations departments, where the product gets generated, or the customer gets served, and a finance/admin team where functions like hiring and payroll get done.  

One TackShip customer has an overarching process of Design, Build, Maintain – three basic steps that when combined with their “why” and their “what,” sets them apart from their competition.  

Another TackShip customer provides real estate services. Documenting how they can serve their customers in the discovery process and secure the space for their customers, allows them to provide the needed insight for customers who may not understand the process. The brand is their process, and you could even go so far as to trademark your own process.

Keeping the process simple

In previous blog posts, we’ve talked about the process of creating an Accountability Chart. You may have already started by identifying core functions and who is accountable for their performance. Eventually, you want to be able to identify the steps of each of these functions so that they are repeatable and do not rely on a single “hero” to complete.  

If you find that your process is lacking, you may want to create a new aspirational process, which is how you would like your customers served better. In this case, determining where you are and where you want to go can help create a roadmap for investment in tools, process development, or people who can take your system to the next level. In documenting processes, as with all things in the EOS world, the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle applies.

Similarly, to the process, the easier it is to understand, and the easier it is for employees and customers to learn. In Traction, this can be done by documenting the 20% of the process that gets 80% of the results. Write down the steps of your process with some bullet points of specific procedures. 

Here are some examples of core processes in an organization:

1. HR 

2. Sales 

3. Marketing 

4. Operations

5. Accounting

6. Customer Retention

By focusing on the individual core processes for each department, you can help to ensure the intended success of the organization as a whole.

Get Professional Help

Figuring out the process for your company and documenting it can be daunting. Tackship Consulting is a professional executive coaching firm that can help. We specialize in helping organizations like yours navigate the pain points to take their business to the next level.

Activate your passion, and optimize your performance with Tackship Consulting today. To learn more, schedule your free consultation.

What Is A High Performing Culture

High Performing Culture

Creating a Culture That Lasts

“Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast” – <attribution>

Culture is a critical part of your company.  If you don’t get the culture right and ensure that it continues to develop in meaningful ways, toxicity, dissatisfaction, and retention can become real issues.  

When the focus turns towards creating a high-performing culture, it gives everyone a better understanding of what is needed and expected to keep the company healthy and performing at a high level.

Seven key aspects for a High Performing Culture

During my time at the Townsend Institute at Concordia University Irvine, the following seven aspects were identified as critical in helping employees work as effectively as possible while also creating value and optimizing the company’s performance.

Trust Trust is an ability to personally connect beyond a task at hand and work together as a team. 

There are two types of trust, predictive trust, and vulnerability-based trust. First, let’s look at predictive trust. When it comes to this type of trust, there’s this idea that if I ask you to complete a task, you will do it. 

With vulnerability-based trust, people accept their coworkers, even though they might make mistakes and aren’t perfect.  Patrick Lencioni calls this “bare naked trust”. Basically that you are able to accept and be accepted by your coworkers, both for strengths and weaknesses.

Autonomy Autonomy is the ability to use talents and implement new ideas that help the company. 

Letting people have the ability to try and learn, fail and grow helps them become more capable and take on more responsibilities. And as we mentioned in our last blog post, make sure that the visions and values of the company are clear so that it gives a guide for future decision making. The opposite of autonomy, is micro-managing, which no one likes.  

Ownership Ownership is about taking on responsibility while performing roles with ease.

Employees should be able to take ownership of their place within the organization and have the ability to make decisions on how they want to get tasks done. This directly correlates with autonomy because as long as the standards are set up front, let employees do their job and see if they can achieve or exceed the expectations set for them. 

Truthfulness– Truthfulness is not being afraid to speak and receive the truth.

Similar to ownership and autonomy, if you’re able to trust your employees to have a clear understanding of the vision and values, then they should also have the ability to speak the truth based on how they perceive it.

By having the space to bring up what is bothering them or ways things could improve within the organization, helps the team continue to grow, understand, and feel ready to take on more responsibilities.  It also can provide a sense of ownership within the organization

Facing and resolving negative realities– It’s normal to make mistakes in life, don’t be afraid of talking about them. 

No one is perfect, and regardless of how hard someone works, things won’t always go according to plan. Often, mistakes are made by employees.  These mistakes can be from a number of reasons, lack of training, misguided enthusiasm, and rarely they might even be malicious.  Understanding and allowing imperfect people room to learn allows for growth and trust within the corporate culture. That said, there is a difference between a misdemeanor mistake and a felony mistake.

A misdemeanor is when someone makes a small mistake but with the right intentions, or possibly needs more training. A felony is when someone makes a big mistake, from a position of malice or neglect which may have significant or grave consequences for the company.  

It is up to leadership to determine the difference, and figure out how the potential of their people. Don’t spend time trying to fix something that won’t change. 

Development– Development is the opportunity to focus on bettering your current skills or even taking the time to learn some new ones.

In life, the only constant thing is change. This means you need to understand how to help support your team, both technically and relationally. It doesn’t matter if the support comes through coaching, conferences, or training. What matters is providing opportunities for your employees to continue to be successful and knowing how to assist them along the way. 

Mission orientation– Mission Orientation is knowing the bigger picture while ensuring that everything aligns with the mission and vision. When you understand the mission and values of the organization, you feel a part of the team, you can relate with your coworkers, which means the culture can continue to grow.

The importance of a High Performing Culture

Culture is essential to the success of any company. It doesn’t matter how skilled your employees are or how long you’ve been in business. When the culture is toxic, nothing will go according to plan.

Values need to be lived, not just aspirational. As a leader, you have opportunities to celebrate values and ensure that those who are behaving in ways that exemplify them are recognized.  You cannot over-communicate your values.     The success of any business comes from everyone working as a team. If there’s a toxic environment, the organization can’t function properly. If you have a toxic culture, your company won’t function well. But once you deal with the toxic culture and provide a place where employees can grow and develop, you’ll start to reap the benefits.

Get Professional Help

Knowing where to start and how to create a high-performing culture can feel intimidating, but you don’t have to do it alone.

Tackship Consulting can help you understand the areas you’re doing well in and where you can improve while creating a culture that supports the growth and development of your employees.

Activate your passion, and optimize your performance with Tackship Consulting today. To learn more, schedule your free consultation.