The High Cost of Losing Focus in Your Business


The Core Focus clearly defines your company’s sweet spot – work you love to do and are best at. Used properly, it helps you stay laser-focused on the stuff you do that most consistently delights your customers, makes you money, and allows you to have the most fun. To get it right, you’ve got to resist the temptation to try being all things to all people, and to ignore “shiny stuff.”

This sounds easy, but is often very hard, and surprisingly costly. One of my clients admitted this last week – and the story was so good I asked him to write a guest blog on the subject. Enjoy…

In this week’s quarterly meeting, our EOS Implementer faithfully did his duty by walking through our V/TO with us. He read our niche aloud, “Manufacture transportation related metal poles” (the poles used to hang lights and traffic signals on roads and highways). He then asked, “Is there ANYTHING you’re doing outside that niche?”

We shook our heads emphatically until one member of the leadership team, sheepishly said, “What about those basketball poles?”

Well, sure, we make a few basketball poles for some playgrounds, but it’s still basically a pole, right?  What can it hurt?

The person who brought it up reminded us of the service call we recently received because a homeowner needed a replacement backboard. Of course, we don’t carry those anymore, and the company that made them is no longer in business, leading to extensive research into how to find a suitable replacement.

All told, we had well over 10 hours of time dedicated to solving a problem generated by a product line that represents 1/20th of 1% of our sales. Those are 10 hours that we’ll never get back…10 hours that we didn’t dedicate to accomplishing our Core Target.  This small example illustrated the impact of not staying disciplined and focused on our niche.

Perhaps it goes without saying that our sales leader wrote a rock to discontinue the sales of basketball poles.

Rob Tracy, Chief Operating Officer (Integrator)
Winsted, MN

It takes thoughtfulness, hard work and courage to define and work within your company’s Core Focus (one of the 8 questions on your Vision/Traction Organizer – V/TO). It requires discipline to grab your V/TO regularly and use the Core Focus to make decisions. It’s hard and scary to forego revenue and lose customers when it turns out you’ve been distracted by shiny stuff.

But it’s worth it. Because without focus, you’re likely to find yourself jumping through (basketball) hoops just like my friends at Millerbernd.

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