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Simplicity of Focus

A challenge many organizations face is their focus, or lack thereof. This challenge is due to the second law of thermodynamics: everything moves from order to disorder. Either through organizational growth or the passage of time, without energy to keep things in order, we will move to disorder and thus, lack focus.

As Amplify Consulting Inc. grows, I see the same thing within our company:

- Clients need help and we can start to work on things outside our areas of focus.

- Time passes and things that were small challenges before start to evolve into bigger challenges.

- Processes we had in place slowly start to slip to get things done quicker.

- Added team members bring new skills sets and ideas they’d like to incorporate.

The reasons for us losing focus are beyond this list, but I’ll stop, you know… to stay focused!

In the book Essentialism, a favourite on my bookshelf, Greg McKeown has a simple drawing which illustrates the benefits of simplicity and focus.

Because we are limited by the hours in a day and the energy we have to expend in those hours, we need to choose carefully what we do to have the maximum impact. Like in the drawing, if you choose to do 10 things, your energy will be divided 10 different ways and your impact in any one area will be minimal. Choose one to three areas of focus, your impact will be amplified in those areas.

Here’s what our team is doing to better focus to amplify our impact:

1. Pick one to three areas of focus, delegate the rest: we do communications and stakeholder engagement. There are so many other things that enhance this work such as video production, event planning, graphic design, and website development. Instead of taking this all on ourselves, we work with professionals who are focused in these areas and become the best in their field because of their focus.

“Say no to many good things so you can say yes to a few great things.” – Greg McKeown

2. Layout Processes: one of the questions I’m asked by our clients on a project is “what’s the next step?”. Our team is also looking to understand the clear pathway forward. Laying out a consistent process, and sticking to it, saves time and we all make less mistakes because we’re not inadvertently skipping a step in the process.

“It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.” – Greg McKeown

3. Consistent Communications: one might think as a company specializing in communications, we would have no problem communicating well, but consistent communication doesn’t happen without energy (remember the second law of thermodynamics?). Our team meets daily for a stand-up meeting or check-in’s and we have longer meetings at the end of the week to talk about projects and the week ahead.

“The pursuit of success can be a catalyst for failure. Put another way, success can distract us from focusing on the essential things that produce success in the first place.” – Greg McKeown

Look at what your organization is doing and consider doing less but more in the areas that are most important. What would that mean for those you serve? I’m willing to bet the simplicity of your focus would make things better for those you serve. We are certainly not perfect, but we’re working every day at focusing better to have the best chance at making a remarkable impact for our clients in the areas of communication and stakeholder engagement.


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