This is the story of Akash Jhori, a 26 year old ambitious professional, employed in a Bangalore based startup as a Account Manager.
Akash’s core responsibility is to be a bridge between his company and it’s key partners. This means he has to periodically meet each partner, develop a good working relationship, become a communication channel between the company & the partner, resolve queries and build business volumes.
Akash has to wear multiple hats in order to manage the day to day issues that crop up in forms that are both repetitive and new occurrences. At the end of the day, doing all this is just to keep clients intact from churning and through that deliver consistent growth in revenues.
Apart from daily firefighting that Akash has to do, the job also demands him to think of new initiatives and experiment fresh ideas from time to time. When you talk about fresh ideas, these have to be launched, tested, validated and internalised further on to become standard processes.
Akash is one of the enthusiastic guys, who relentlessly asks questions and looks for opportunities to learn. He takes interests in all team discussions and notes down important points that gets discussed by the company’s key people.
The company that he works for is in a hot sector, that is getting disrupted by smart technologies & entrepreneurs. His company is also VC backed, which means there’s money to spend to grow at exponential rate, try new things, fail & still move on, burn on customer acquisition, etc.,
For a 26 year old, who’s at the starting phase of his career and looking to build a solid credential for himself, this is an opportunity that normally people can only dream off!
He joined this company at a very early stage and that means he has a promise to cash in when the company eventually succeeds. The worst case being, he developing killer skills & exposure that can further become an advantage to his future career endeavors.
Given all the above background, you must be thinking that life is hunky dory for Akash as everything one would want for is just being served in a platter!
Now comes the actual twist in the story! Akash repeatedly runs into the following issues:
- Often forgets to loop in concerned people on critical tasks
- Works at the lowest possible efficiency levels when it comes to task completion
- Presses the snooze button on a task-in-hand at the 1st instance of a roadblock, only to realise it during the next review meeting when he gets questioned on the progress
- Screws up more often than he achieves any prominent result
Despite all of this, Akash is one of the most loved & dependable persons in the eyes of everyone, so his mistakes are often forgiven and people go to him every time they need to get something done.
What do you think about Akash’s position in the organization?
Is he, according to you, moving in the right direction to achieve bigger things in his career? For his own personal growth and that of the company’s?
If you feel that Akash is hovering all over and not headed any particular direction (rather headed for a disaster), then you are perfectly in line with my thought process.
Even Akash himself thinks that he is a big “Screw-up”, and this leads to a lot of discontent in him.
How do you stay focused and motivated; so that you can keep progressing at work and achieving milestones after another?
How to keep yourself on the task and not get distracted by fringe elements?
How can you avoid distractions at all the times, day-in-day-out, irrespective of what the day holds for you?
This is often a big question that many people like Akash Johri struggle to cope with. No matter how good our intentions were at the typical start of the day, the random events that happen from unexpected corners will pull us in various directions, only to carry a notion of emptiness when the day ends.
In this article, I want to share a very simple formula that would greatly help you in staying focused in whatever you wish to pursue.
Choose a battle (Instead of war)! & Win before moving forward (or sidewards)!
Step1 – Choosing the battle: It means, we always carry goals & milestones as part of our KRA. We should carefully break-down those goals to tinier “wins”, define what achieving them means and pursue them in a one-at-a-time rhythm.
In Akash’s case, let’s assume that he has to streamline the order processing with Partners as part of his KRA. Now to do that, he has to first break that goal (streamlining the process with external people) into tinier task.
One of that could be, collating the partners’ order taking time slot. Another could be, syncing their time slots to ours through Google Calendar. And so on.
If he could create this kind of a structured workflow, then it gets easier to focus on simpler things rather than he running around for solving big & complex issues. And with every passing of successful task completion, it always almost magically makes the rest of the task in that chain, a lot easier to achieve. In the end, the overall KRA is achieved as momentum builds up on its own.
Step 2 – Win before moving forward: Even when we break down the goals to tinier parts, set them up for daily achievement targets and get to work on them; there’ll always be several unexpected turn of events happening daily.
Now, these distractions will always be ready to throw off your rhythm and get you into the whirlpool of madness.
How do we maneuver that?
It’s actually quite simple, though people don’t get to realise it as they are not breaking down their goals in the first place (as per step 1).
The way to avoid distractions from affecting your progress is to accept the defeat! Yes, we are so clogged up in our mind to win over everything that comes to us. If there are 10 things that are put on your table and of that your priority is just one thing; then you have to accept in failing at the other 9.
And not just accept but actually fail! How? By just ignoring them and keep working on your one thing.
If you religiously practice this, then soon you’ll realise that the win you achieved on your one task is mightier than the 9 other failures you took by just ignoring 9 other tasks.
And you’ll also realise that the one win will in most of the cases will solve an average of 4 out of those other 9 by itself!
We think that we must win all 10, so that we can satisfy everyone around and who doesn’t want more quantity? But the truth is, though people don’t seem to notice it in most cases, it is impossible to win if our focus is on 10 things!
And it is impossible to lose if our focus is on 1 thing!
How to stay focused and motivated? How to avoid getting distracted? How to win in the end?
Leave a reply on what you think about my formula.
See you in the next blog.