Choose Your Focus

Here is a simple but very effective tool that David Rock shares in his must read book 'Quiet Leadership'.

The Choose Your Focus model has five different ways we can think about or communicate about any project.  The model helps us to recognize which angle we are thinking from and then allows us to choose another way to think, or allows everyone in the conversation to be talking from the same angle.  This simple model is helpful in any conversation or meeting.

  1. Vision: Vision thinking is about the "why" or "what."  It is the big picture of what is your goal or what are you trying to achieve.
  2. Planning: Planning thinking is about how you are going to get there.
  3. Detail: Once you know where you are going and how to get there, then comes the detail of doing thinking.
  4. Problem: Problem thinking is the territory of events going wrong.  The focus on problems.
  5. Drama: Is the place where things have fallen apart and all that is left is emotional charge.

As David Rock suggests, I have used this by putting it up during a meeting so that everyone can see it.  Then with each agenda item stating which level we are talking at.  It is easy for people to get lost in detail, but if they know it is a vision or planning conversation, the detail can wait.  This is very helpful for having everyone thinking and communicating at the same level.

As David Rock wisely says "Quiet leaders are highly disciplined  in their conversations.  They are diligently focused on ensuring every conversation is as productive as possible every step of the way, and if it's not, they do something about this.  They know that it's important to get the process of any conversation right before getting into any of the content of a dialogue".

Question: Where could you use this 'Choose Your Focus' tool in a conversation or meeting this week?