Energy and Focus

If you’re in your own business, working in a corporate, or generally working on initiatives to make a difference – some key elements of a philosophy need to be considered. Sumantra Ghoshal wrote a paper some years back about “Energy and Focus” as the key drivers of management. The first time I read it, some ideas surfaced; but over time more and more of his ideas started to make sense to me. We have some ideas that we develop over time and sometimes these ideas just become dinner time conversational items. There are other ideas however that develop and make it into life and get the energy needed to make a difference.

There is one element of life that’s highly unpredictable though; the issue of how you work with people around you. You spend time mentoring and teaching individuals “that the act of entrepreneurship can transform a world where everybody are striving to make their mark on the social structures of the day”. This can either happen from within a corporate or from the outside where you try to be the scaffold (a metaphor I will unpack another time) that will allow people achieve great outcomes themselves.

Businesses go through cycles of change where the only surviving construct becomes the “dominant idea” of the business model. Theoretically it doesn’t matter if people come-and-go, but you need a certain number of key individuals with the energy to recover from cycles of change. Undirected energy is quite dangerous as resources can be wasted on non-revenue generating activities and actions that do not contribute to business success. There is a point at which people leave your business and start competing businesses – this is an unstoppable force where the only counter is to step up the energy to implement your dominant idea.

I’m looking at a badge on my desk “Get over it” – got it from my oldest daughter a few weeks ago after a business event that left me stunned. Investments in people development are always personal and when they leave to compete with you…

It all began some 20 years ago. I worked with some great people and learnt a lot about the basics of how to treat people (by no means a great “people” person yet). But sometimes the internal energy that makes individuals believe that they know “everything” overpower their abilities to achieve in the current context, so they need to spread their wings. This all got me to reason about some key questions:
– is entrepreneurship really good for a business that wants to retain people?
– can you retain people without promising the dream of entrepreneurship?
– how are people reminded of the energy needed to achieve great outcomes?
– vision, mission and objective statements are not enough to describe the focus of a business?