Coming into Focus (Part II)

This is Part II of a three-part series on Focus.

“Things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
~ Johann van Goethe, German poet and dramatist

In the quest to maintain better focus, a tool I’ve used successfully with many clients is called VISAGE™ (from Latin origin, “to see”). VISAGE stands for Vision, Integrity, Strategy, Adaptability, Goals and Execution.

The following pyramid visual can be helpful in prioritizing what to focus on, and what to let go.

All of us spend a good deal of time in the bottom slice of the pyramid, Execution. These are the things we do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis – the action plan. The key however, is to ensure that every slice from the bottom up is in alignment with what’s above it. Being in the response mode can cause Execution and Goals that are out of Integrity with our Vision and Strategies. You may be checking things off your to do list, but feeling like you’re not really getting anywhere. Sound familiar?

It doesn’t take a lot of time to articulate your Vision, and it’s time well spent. By iterating your Vision of how your life should be and how your organization fits into that Vision, the Strategies, Goals, and tasks that deserve your focus become much more clear.

In an ideal world, we’d all have the time and energy to pursue every business lead, stay in touch with all friends and family members, and enjoy all our recreational interests. That’s never going to happen. So given the finite resources you do have, what do you choose to focus on?

Try these steps this week, and see if your “to do” list doesn’t feel much lighter.

    1. Spend an hour delineating your Vision. This is your view how the world should be, and how
      your life and your organization fit into that.
    2. Ensure that your Vision is in Integrity with your true values – who you are at your core. If you
      want some help with delineating your values, email me at for a great assessment tool.
    3. Pick 2 core Strategies that you think will be most effective at bringing your Vision closer to fruition (these can be long term, such as “earning my Doctorate so I can teach, research and be published,” or short term, such as “increase brand recognition through speaking engagements and networking during the next 90 days”).
    4. Be Adaptable. Nobody picks the right Strategies and Goals all the time, so plan for what might go wrong as well as what might go right, and be prepared to re-assess after you’ve tried a Strategy for a specified time period. Change it if you need to.
    5. Set Goals – in writing, with deadlines, and share them with someone. Be sure the goals you
      set are in Integrity with all the slices above. If they’re not, let them go for now.
    6. Execution – pick your top 20% of the goals list. Remember the 80/20 rule? Apply it here, asserting that achieving the top 20% of your goals will bring you 80% satisfaction. No one can focus on their entire goals list at once – so focus on the most high leverage goals.

When “overwhelm” starts to set in, re-focus based on your model. Let me know how it goes!

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