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Monday, May 9, 2016

4 Steps to reduce tunnel vision


Sometimes, there is more than one way to reach a goal.; look for it!


Business requires a high degree of focus to ensure achievement of goals.  It is very easy to become distracted and deviate from the pre-determined objectives.  An exciting new discovery or a more attractive market can cause one to shift midstream to take advantage of a major opportunity.  Being able to alter plans to take advantage of game changing technology or markets is one of the advantages of working in a startup or small company.  The flexibility one possesses can make a difference in being first to market with novel technology.  It is very important to recognize and take advantage of game changing shifts impacting a product launches.  However, excessive flexibility can result in constant switching and creative delays.  This leads to cost overruns and lags in meeting milestones.   

 

It is important for entrepreneurs to have some degree of flexibility.  That said, they also must focus on their objectives.  Focusing on products and timelines helps keep projects on track at reasonable cost.  Focus prevents the team from drifting too far afield from key goals.  All serious investors expect the company leaders to focus on value creation and take the necessary steps to achieve all objectives. 

 

There is a difference between having the right level of focus and having tunnel vision.  Tunnel vision is like a horse with blinders.  You do not see the surroundings and miss events or steps that can improve a product or shorten development times.  It is also possible to miss changes in the market place that may affect your launch or ability to capture share.  The following are 4 steps may help you maintain your focus and keep those blinders off.  Remember, focus not tunnel vision is the key.

 

1.      Identify the target:  Proper identification of your objectives and timelines is essential.  Obtain the input from the team and ensure they are onboard with the decisions and timings.  They may push back a little, but if they express strong reservations, re-evaluate the plans.  The better the early discussions, the better everyone will maintain the focus and desire to meet the objectives and timings. 

 

2.      Define multiple routes: While planning, consider as many alternative routes and objectives as possible.  Selection of the best plans along with a few alternatives may help introduce the concept of flexibility in achievement of the goals. Great plans include seeking alternatives that can take advantage in a way to improve your outcomes.  If your team is encouraged to have tunnel vision, they may reach the goal but in a less optimal manner.  Encourage the team to be alert and seek improvements where they may exist.

 

3.      Monitor progress: You should always monitor progress and be willing to step in if needed.  You may see ways to make major improvements or accelerate a program.  The ability to see and take advantages of events that may lead to major improvements is the responsibility of the leader as well as the team.  The team may not be aware of all the relevant information or have as much awareness of the market place.  Their ability to see opportunities may be hampered due to lack of information. 

 

4.      Be vigilant for ways to improve:  You may never make improvements if you never look for ways to improve.  Even when something happens that can lead to a major discovery, you could miss it if you are not monitoring activities.  It is essential that you seek ways to improve even if you decide not to implement the changes.  In the end, you have a choice if you actually identify alternatives.  You have no choice if you stick your head in the sand and fail to seek ways to improve.