“Free your mind and your opportunity will follow.”
A lot has been written about the power of focus. I agree, it is important; however, there is a danger in becoming so focused that you get stuck in your ways and let opportunities pass you by. In this digital age where industries, businesses, and careers are being disrupted by technology, agility and connectivity are more powerful than focus. Paradoxically, at a time in which people need to be more flexible, they are becoming more rigid. Reason being, it is human nature in times of uncertainty and disruptive change to hunker down and work harder instead of opening up. (Reminds me of the “John Henry” story.) I’m seeing it within organizations in which “Turf” wars are being waged between business units and functions, between business units and regions, between product lines, and between people. The battle for control eventually becomes dysfunctional, getting in the way of organizational and individual progress. The underlying cause is that people are limiting their definition of success to what it has always been. The more successful the person or organization has been, the more limited their definitions are. This narrow view eventually results in their failure. For example, success in higher education used to be getting a degree. Now, it is getting a competency and continually improving it based on how technology is affecting it. Business success used to be based on how many physical locations organizations had. Now, it is based on how many virtual connections they have. Career success used to be based on how much authority and control you have. Now, it is based on how much influence you have. As a side note, the more control you give away the more influence and agility you will have. It took me years to realize that fact. Once I did, my career took off.
Another side benefit of being agile is you will also become less frustrated. You will because you will stop spending so much time trying to be understood so that you can get your way; instead, you will start spending more time trying to understand so that you can move things out of the way. The first thing you will have to move is your definition of success. To find out if you need to change it, you will have to take a “Step up” instead of hunker down and see things from a much broader perspective.