“Don’t mistake activity with achievement.” – John Wooden
This qualifies as the understatement of the year, but we live in a world that changes at an almost unbelievable rate. It’s at the point where sometimes it feels like there’s no way our brains can keep up. And sometimes they probably can’t.
One of the things I’ve seen more and more over the past couple of years is a trend among some businesses to be so aware of the changing world around them and the impact it could have on their organization that they don’t spend a lot of time focusing inward. What I mean by that is they try to do all these new and innovative things – which is great – but they forget to try and do anything well. It doesn’t really help you to do all these wonderful new things if you do them all poorly.
There are certainly some businesses that do the opposite. They’re so scared of all the change that all they do is focus on the things they’ve always done and doing them at a very high level – even though those things are no longer what they really should be doing at all.
But more of the businesses I’ve been fortunate to work with don’t have that problem. The people we’re around are more likely to be running in a hundred different directions at once. Every year they sit down and list all the things they attempted as though that in itself is an accomplishment. But when they’re really honest with themselves, they realize they didn’t actually achieve much.
If you read this space even semi-regularly you know I’m not suggesting that change is bad or that you shouldn’t try and be innovative or that you should just stick to the same old things you’ve always done and everything will be fine. I’m not saying that at all. I’m just saying that you cannot be good at everything, so don’t try.
Make the best evaluation you can and settle on the handful of key things that are critical to your success. Then work to become great at those few critical things. None of us has the time or energy or talent to do much more than that. So don’t try.