Focus is the #1 thing a person needs to get anything significant done in this multi-device, multi-channel, multi-tasking world. And when you're running a team, the better your team can focus, individually and collectively, the faster you'll move towards your goal.
Now, having run an agency, and now a consultancy, for more than 13 years, I can tell you that the battle for focus is REAL. It's something I'm passionate about, and this is a big 'focus' for us at Web Profits.
Why? Because the biggest wins in business happen when you can focus your team on one big thing for an extended period of time, and get it DONE. The more you can do that, the more big things you'll get done, and the faster you'll move the needle.
So in a world of Facebook, Slack, Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, Email... plus co-workers, team members, clients, and multiple conflicting priorities, what do you do?
Well... here are some of the things we do at Web Profits:
#1 No Meeting Days
Every Tuesday we have no-meeting-day, where the entire team focuses on getting 'deep work' done. Slack is off. Emails are off. There are no interruptions.
#2 Work From Home Days
We have 'work from home days' where the more senior people can work from home a day a week (or more if needed). Self-starters can get A LOT of high-value work done from home, and we're the type of company that loves self-starters.
#3 ‘Feel the Focus’ Sessions
We have 'feel the focus' sessions, where teams working on the same client get together and focus on just that client. They end up getting a tonne of stuff done simply by sitting side-by-side and vibing off each other.
#4 Schedule ‘Focus’ Sessions
We encourage our team to block out time in their calendar to work on bigger tasks that require sustained focus. And we've created areas around the office where people can do it without interruption. We also suggest that people go and sit at a cafe or in the park if they need to do something that requires fresh or bigger thinking because changing up the environment can really help the creative juices flow.
#5 North Star Metric
If you're a leader or manager the tendency is to continually push new ideas on your team, with the aim of driving more growth. But this can actually work against you.
Why? Because you overload and overwhelm your team, pushing them to their limits where they can't focus on anything anymore because there's so much to do (I know because that's what I've done in the past).
So one of the things we've done as a team, and I think this has had the biggest impact across the team, is to have a North Star Metric for the entire company that everyone focuses on, and to give people the space to work on one or two things each week that contribute to that goal, and NOT to introduce anything new. Because sometimes, the best way to help your team stay focused is to give them space (not just the time) to actually focus.
Alex Cleanthous is the co-founder at Web Profits, a digital growth consultancy with offices in Australia, Singapore and the United States and founder at Zage, a specialist blockchain marketing agency.