Three Levels to Achieve Focused Leadership

Years ago, during a dinner party, both Bill Gates and Warren Buffet said that focus helped them accomplish their achievements. When the leaders of the organization focus on leading, the business thrives. But achieving focus doesn’t just happen; you have to work through three levels to achieve focused leadership.

To begin, you have to ask yourself if you have these three things (in order):

  1. The right structure
  2. The right people in the right seats
  3. Enough time

You will never have enough time unless you have the right people in the right seats. You will never have the right people in the right seats unless you have the right structure.

Level 1: The Right Structure

First, you have to create the right structure for your business. The Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®) defines structure by using The Accountability Chart™.

The Accountability Chart simplifies and communicates functions, roles, and responsibilities for every member of your team. It removes the importance of titles and hierarchy and instead focuses on accountability.

Get the structure right before you put a single name in a seat. Structure first, people second.  This avoids limiting a team to its current strengths and weaknesses.

When The Accountability Chart is clear, you have clear ownership throughout the organization. Now you can identify who will be accountable for those responsibilities.

Level 2: The Right People in the Right Seats

With The Accountability Chart in place, you’re ready to work toward getting the right people in the right seats. In EOS, “right people” means they fit your core values.

“Right seat” means they Get it, Want it, and Have the Capacity (GWC™) for their roles and responsibilities listed in The Accountability Chart. To know if you have the right person in the right seat, EOS has a tool called The People Analyzer™.

You must have both the right structure and the right people in the right seats to get to the next level. If you don’t, you’ll still run into issues of not having enough time. With the right structure and people in place, you can move to the next level: enough time.

Level 3: Enough Time

You’ll only feel like you can focus on what matters most if you have enough time. To free up your time, lean on the following tools.

Delegate and Elevate™

Once you have the right people in the right seats, you can work on freeing up time by offloading tasks. You want to get to where you add the most value in your organization, focused on your roles and responsibilities.

Use the Delegate and Elevate tool to help identify where to spend your time and energy. You elevate what you love to do and are great at doing and also what you like to do and do well. Conversely, the tool helps you identify what to delegate. These are the things you don’t like to do but are good at, and the things you don’t like and don’t do well.

With these tasks divided and appropriately delegated, you can elevate your role to focus on having enough time. You want to concentrate on tasks within your Unique Ability®: what you love to do and do best.

Lead, Manage, and Hold Accountable

In order to feel comfortable letting go and delegating tasks, you have to ensure they’ll still get completed. Leading, managing, and holding people accountable (LMA™) serves a major role in The Accountability Chart if you have direct reports.

To get great at LMA, learn the five practices of a leader and manager. Get started with the How to Be a Great Boss Toolkit for an understanding of the basics. Mastering these practices will help you gain trust.

download the how to be a great boss toolkit


To truly have enough time, you have to learn to trust your team. When you distrust your team, you waste time and energy managing behavior, dysfunction, drama, and unexpected issues.

You build trust in your team through ongoing interactions like having open and honest conversations. Likewise, your team learns to trust you when you provide consistent and transparent communication.

This includes weekly meetings, quarterly conversations, and annual state of the company addresses. I also encourage my clients to take the Five Dysfunctions of a Team assessment and discuss the results.

Focused on the Right Things

Imagine yourself confidently saying, “Yes, I have the right structure, the right people in the right seats, and enough time.”

If you do, you’re focused on the right things for your organization where you add the most value. That means at your next dinner party with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, you can share your secret to success too!

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