“The success combination in business is: Do what you do better… and do more of what you do…” – David Joseph Schwartz
I watch a lot of football (the American kind). One of the things that annoys me more and more as each season goes by is the epidemic of teams who don’t seem to understand who they are. Team after team talks about the need to be versatile and unpredictable and good at everything – but the result for most of those teams is that they’re really mediocre at almost everything. I don’t know how many times I haven’t yelled at the TV: “Figure out what you’re good at & do lots of that. Figure out what you’re not good at & don’t do that. End of discussion.”
As I was muttering that same thing to myself a few weekends ago, it occurred to me that to many businesses operate the same way. They look around and see what’s trendy, or what seems to be working for somebody else, so they think they’ll try it too. Not only that, they hedge their bets by trying 5 or 6 different things, probably hoping that if they try enough things one of them will be “right”. What usually happens to them is the same thing that happens to unfocused football teams – lots of various window dressings with mediocre results.
I’m of course not suggesting that we never change or that we can’t learn anything from other businesses. We need to constantly evaluate what we do and be thinking about whether or not it gives us an opportunity for long-term success. What I am suggesting is no organization can be great at everything, and no organization can be great at anything without focus.
Think about your business. What are you good at? Are you doing lots of it? Are you committed to it? Does it drive who you are and how you see the future? Think about the other side too – what are you not good at? Why are you going it? Can it be eliminated? And if so, how?
Don’t let yourself get distracted by the flavor of the month. Understand who you are and what you’re good at – then do it repeatedly. Understand what you’re not good at – then stop doing it. Stop trying to be everything to everyone – and concentrate on being yourself.