Further observations as I dig through my inbox, catching up from some time off.
Two great minds, Frank Patrick and Tom Peters wrote recently on focus. Frank's point is that we need to do one thing at a time. Tom took a different tack, urging us to not get locked into a solution too quickly when approaching a problem, or, in his terms, to "defocus" before locking in.
Then I had a meeting yesterday adding a further "ahaa" to the topic of focus. Examining some production metrics with my key colleagues, one trend over the past week jumped out. We saw it clearly because we had configured the presentation of our metrics to change colors when our actual figures were far from our plan.
The presentation told us clearly and simply where our problem was.
The conversation that followed was anything but clear or simple, however. The reasons were complex and difficult to talk about. And the solution was not obvious. We had to take a step back and "defocus" on our preconceived notions of the cause. Yet, the metric had led us to a conversation about the right issue.
Focus. Defocus. Stepping closer. Stepping back. Stating assumptions. Challenging assumptions.
Frank and Tom are both right. And knowing when and how to focus is key for each of us offering leadership in achieving process excellence.
I hope this is helpful.