You pretty much know what your buying experience will be when you walk into a Starbucks. The company has prospered over the years because of their consistency.
The Starbucks in my neighborhood usually exemplifies the entirety of the Starbucks brand. Knowledgeable, friendly and welcoming baristas, whose service meets your expectations. Even when the line is long, I’ll be in and out pretty quickly.
I went in to buy a pound of coffee. The barista at the cash register was unusually frenetic. He was taking orders, putting bakery products in the oven and talking to the barista making the drinks. His head was swiveling from one person to the next, barely paying attention to any one customer.
When I handed him the bag of coffee and told him I did not want it ground, nor did I need a bag, he tapped something into his keyboard and I placed my phone on the app reader. I heard a beep. But he had turned away to do something else and did not confirm that the sale was complete. I took my coffee and left. As I looked at the app later, I realized that the scan had not worked and I was not charged for the pound of coffee.
This was a $14 purchase that would take less than 60 seconds to complete. This barista did not spend even that small amount of time to ensure that my app paid for my purchase.
Imagine that this lack of attention takes over across the land. How much money would walk out the door?
Imagine if people in your company lacked enough attention to complete their dealings with your buyers. How would that hurt your revenue and profit?
Distraction—or lack of paying attention—is costly in dollars and way more.
- It hurts the very relationships you depend on for beyond-average growth.
- It causes employees to reduce their commitment and loyalty.
- It hurts your company when new markets open up or competitors arise.
- It hurts your ability to build owner wealth.
Too many CEOs and Owners are also distracted as a matter of habit—that is, they do it routinely, without thinking.
- Pack your weekly schedule with one obligation after another?
- Treat everything as urgent? Nothing except fire and blood are urgent. Everything else is as important as you let it be.
- Fail to prioritize? This is the equivalent of the barista swiveling from one customer to another.
Focus is the essential attribute of paying attention. You aren’t paying attention if your mind jumps from one idea to another.
- Choosing what is important (importance never comes from external forces.)
- Ignoring other demands on your attention.
- Doing a lot more about the few most impactful things
- Acting quickly upon the plans that arise from the focused attention
Try this for one week: choose two topics per day that you will intensively focus on. You may choose familiar facets of your business such as: sales, marketing, competition, product development, profit growth, improving sales cycle speed, employee benefits, customer service, industry issues, how the economy impacts your business, legal issues, networking, referrals.
Focus all of your attention on your chosen two topics per day. That means only have meetings and calls about the chosen topics; read about the topics; talk to people inside and outside the company about those topics. Immerse yourself in those topics each day for 5 days.
Make brief notes about how your focus changes your thinking from the beginning to the end of each day.
- What did you learn that you didn’t know or wouldn’t have discovered if your day had been crammed with many more topics?
- What new plans or ideas came about from this focus?
This simple exercise will be a smack upside the head for you. “Oh, yes! distractions and fractured attention really hurt more than I understood.” Creating a new habit of what I call Singular FocusSM will enrich your company more than you can even imagine. Don’t delay, start focusing today!