I had a good conversation this week with a good friend and client who leads a sales organization for a high technology firm. Let’s call him “Bob” for purposes of this blog and to keep him anonymous. He is trying to communicate to his team that they need to change their behaviors to change their results. We talked for awhile about how frustrating the current situation is; then we talked about how to get the team to change their behavior. “Bob” needs to get his team focused to help change their behavior…
First, I asked Bob to realize that every one of his team members is different. Bob needs to realize that and remember it. We often think things are simpler than they are. Sometimes things are simple. Sometimes, not so much!
Next, I asked Bob to realize that different people tend to focus on different things. One way to unlock that is to look at their behavior style. On his team, he has highly motivated, results-oriented people who are interactive. They are experience and relationship-oriented teammates. These sorts of folks tend to be focused on the future, and they are most often looking at the destination that they’re heading to. They do not have their heads down, picking their way carefully along the path. They are focused on the long-term win, not how they’re going to get there.
Next, we talked about how his organization also has strong team members who are highly motivated, but are more process-oriented. These types are more comfortable staying in their current status quo, leveraging the things that have always worked for them. These associates are not looking at their destination; they are keeping their eyes tightly focused on the ground in front of them. Furthermore, they are very concerned about the placement of the next step in their journey. These good people are not focused on the forest; they are looking closely at the tree directly in front of them, and they’re very present-focused.
Bob and I had a great discussion about how he would have to change his game plan, and he would need to begin to talk to each person on his team in the context of their behavior style. He would have to help them to understand that if they’re going to change their behavior for the better, they need to understand how their current focus impacts their ability to gain future results. Focus impacts behavior in a powerful correlation. Focus on the things you’re comfortable with, and you’re likely to continue to get the same results you’ve always enjoyed. Change your focus, on the other hand, and you’re more likely to change your results. If you’re more of a present-focused person, beginning to focus on the future objective or the future win, and you’re likely to change your results. The power to change our focus is within our grasp, but only when we’re self-aware. When we change our focus from one thing to another, it is tremendously helpful. When we change our focus, we enable forward motion and positive change. Make sense? Of course it does…
My client, Bob, is an intuitive fellow and realized in an instant that he needed to help his team understand how their habits and their present behavior might prevent them from achieving the future accomplishments they need. Think of this a bit like a road map. (Remember those?) If you’re looking at the wrong place on your map, you might miss your turn. If you are focused on the correct spot, you’ll see your turn coming and make it to the ultimate destination. Understanding behavior styles, patterns of behavior and preferences for focus unlocked the mystery for my client friend, and perhaps they can do the same for you.
Sit down with your team during the coming days. Help them to realize that their focus and their habits can help or hinder them, every day. When armed with the knowledge that we have choices, we often can make better choices without fear or trepidation. As you think about this, realize that this isn’t about your people being good, or being bad. Leading change is about learning to recognize the impact of habits and focus, and changing habits by changing focus. When we focus on the right things, we unlock the door that leads to greater ability to achieve personal, team, and organizational goals. When we focus on the right things, we make change easier and expend less mental energy along the way.
I hope this little focus hack helps you in directing the attention of your team. If you’d like more information, leave a comment below about the article and we’ll email a copy of our Best Practices document on “Focus” to you free of charge. Have an amazing day!