As we dive into this topic, lets start with a definition:
Myopia: noun, â€œNearsightednessâ€, or object being seen clearly only when near the eye.
It seems strange and a bit â€œoff trackâ€ for me to be talking about and recommending â€œmyopiaâ€ or a â€œmyopic viewpointâ€ in any setting. In a previous essay, (â€œOver the hood & Over the horizonâ€) I commented on the challenges and the necessary balance between long range and short term approaches in business and in life. Keeping those ideas in mind, it seems more than coincidental that I keep encountering the need to enhance/improve the short tem focus in multiple client engagements and in conversations with family and friends. In that spirit, I want to share some thoughts about how to productively, and maybe strategically, be â€œmyopicâ€ across a number of settings.
â€œMyopicâ€ in Sales: I have had the pleasure to work with a wide variety of clients, across a very wide range of industries in my consulting practice this past year. (for more on that, click on http://ift.tt/1zL3JXB) Recently I began work with a new client who was coming to the end of their â€œsales year,â€ unfortunately falling well below their sales budgets. There were numerous issues/topics at hand, ranging from uncovered customers, mixed reviews on new products, sales leadership competency questions, etc., etc. â€¦. lots going on AND dramatically behind budget! My advice was to limit the distractions, narrow the focus, and begin a weekly review of the â€œsales funnelâ€ and IMMEDIATE selling activities that might drive some improvement to short-term trends. While still missing the annual target, the latest results have improved, and the momentum going into the new sales year has dramatically increased.
â€œMyopicâ€ in Business: I am working now with a number of â€œstartupsâ€ or early stage companies challenged by trying to â€œmanageâ€ dramatic growth. One situation is of a high growth â€œnatural foodsâ€ business that is booming, a very â€œon-trendâ€ brand accelerating coast to coast. With a young, energized but small staff, the executive team is literally trying to â€œdo it allâ€ and is hampered by capacity and capability barriers. Instead of doing a few things VERY well, they are doing a lot of things â€œso-so.â€ In this context, I have worked with them to prioritize the most important and urgent topics at hand, then doing a second â€œfilterâ€ of those priorities based on which might â€œkill the businessâ€ if done poorly, or â€œsave the businessâ€ if done well. While still a work in progress, this approach has narrowed the number of projects prioritized, allowing the team to focus and execute with distinction.
â€œMyopicâ€ in Life: This is a tough area because I am a big believer in personally keeping the â€œlong viewâ€ in mind, planning for the future and often â€œputting offâ€ immediate short term â€œpleasuresâ€ for longer term objectives. In a recent discussion with a friend facing serious marital challenges, my attention once again turned to a â€œmyopicâ€ point of view. Filled with grief, denial, anger and many other emotions, this individual was floundering, unable to find any path forward. After a number of â€œventing sessionsâ€ where I just listened and let him talk, I started trying to focus his energy on the path ahead. While it seemed overwhelming, he had to find a way to choose one of three paths: 1) Reconciliation, 2) Separation/Divorce, 3) Current State. There werenâ€™t twenty options, clouded with one hundred emotions, Just three possible roads ahead! Again we will see what comes of this advice, but the clarity has seemed to help.
As I close, this is not meant to be some simplistic panacea to the issues and challenges in sales, business or life. These issues and situations are real, and often overwhelming! When a situation seems â€œtoo big to handleâ€ (of course remember â€œAunt Lorraineâ€™s Lawâ€â€¦ take small bites and chew thoroughly) it is often helpful to narrow your focus and find the discipline to take on a â€œmyopicâ€ point of view to gain the clarity needed on the actions that lie ahead.