178: Three Tools for Powerful Focus and Incredible Results [Podcast]

Your Chief Operations Officer of Your Company of One

Three Tools for Powerful Focus and Incredible Results

Three tools for powerful focus and incredible results. Sound like a big promise? Perhaps – but these three proven tools have a long track record of results in companies like Google, Intel, Youtube, and MyFitnessPal.

The three tools are 1) Four Disciples of Execution, 2) Objectives and Key Results, and 3) Entrepreneurial Operating System.

Each of the three tools is similar in that they drive focus and results. You only need one of the three, but since each tool works better in specific environments, we will take a look at all of them spending more of our time on the first tool, since it is most likely to have a positive impact on your Company of One.

“Ideas are easy, execution is everything” — John Doerr

A Quick Recap

In the last few weeks I have been going over the Company of One model:

We will continue to go over these in the next few episodes diving into how to market yourself (your Cheif Marketing Officer), how to control your money (your Cheif Financial Officer), and how to stay ahead of the game by doing great research (your Cheif Research Officer).

But up to now, we have focused on getting to know your customer and then learning how to be more effective at your job – your Chief Operations Officer. In Episode 177: Become Better at Your Job we dove into how to become better doing your job by learning what matters and staying out of the weeds.

Now we dive into becoming hyper-focused on getting powerful results by using one of three tools for powerful focus.

Three Tools for Powerful Focus

Once you know what is important from your boss (See Ep: 177: Become Better at Your Job), now you can focus in to get great results. The trick here will be the focus. If you know what is important, then you also know what you should ignore. The key here is “SHOULD.” So many distractions!

Let’s dive into the first of the three tools.

Tool #1 – The Four Disciplines of Execution or 4DX. (Here is a 5-minute video by Franklin-Covey telling about 4DX)

These four disciplines are:

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important. These would be a small number of things that will return tangible and substantial professional benefits.
    Example: Lose 20 pounds by December.
  2. Act on lead measures. Lead measures are things you can do today to get the results. As opposed to lagging measures which are the end result. Once the lagging measure comes in, the damage is already done.
    Example: The lagging measure for weight loss is pounds. The leading measure (what we can do daily to get to the end result) is the tracking of your eating daily in MyFitnessPal.
  3. Keep a compelling scorecard. We all love to keep score – it is just motivating. So you need a simple and visual method to keep score.
    Example: Your MyFitnessPal will show you the number of calories eaten per day.
  4. Create a Cadence of Accountability. A system to hold you accountable so that you get back on focus when you become distracted – which always happens.
    Example: A weekly review of your weight and your week’s tracking of eating.

These ideas were used by Cal Newport in the book Deep Work. Cal, a university faculty focused on research, realized what mattered for his success was research productivity. This means publishing quality research papers and writing proposals that get funded.

Here is how Cal used 4DX:

#1 The Wildy Important Goal – publish 5 high-quality papers in the next year. This was a big goal – but he knew it would move the needle.

#2 The Lead Measure –  time spent on deep work. Before, he had focused on papers published – a lag goal.

#3 The Scorecard – A simple scorecard where he marked off-hours in tally marks spent in deep work.

#4  Accountability – He did a weekly review where he reviewed wins and losses and made adjustments. (Weekly review post)

God Doesn't Keep Tally Marks | youthESource

 

How Can You Do This at Work?

  1. Determine what is wildly important to your success. Get with the boss again and tell him or her what you plan to focus on. If you hit the target, they will be smiling.
  2. What lead measures result in your success. This can take some thought – but keep it focused on what you do each day or week that results in the desired outcome.
  3. How can you simply and visibly track it? Be simple. Spreadsheets OK as long as you do not start making colorful and spending your time creating a system.
  4. What can you do for accountability? Meeting with the boss.

Similar Tools for Larger Teams

The two other tools are similar to 4DX, but they are more suited for larger teams.

Tool #2 – Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).

OKRs are used by many large firms. The process of using OKRs is documented in the book Measure What Matters.

Tool #3 – Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)

EOS is used for teams of less than 500 people (small businesses)  and is outlined in the book Traction.

Click here to listen now.

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