How to Keep Your Team Focused on What Matters Most

Posted 07.26.2022

If there’s one topic I hear about all the time from the leaders I work with, it’s the challenge of keeping themselves and their teams focused on what matters most. The long and ever-changing list of things competing for their time and attention can cause a sense of swirl and churn that leaves everyone frustrated and exhausted.

A few months ago, I was facilitating a senior leadership team meeting where the focus challenge came up again and, after listening for a while, I drew this grid on the flip chart and asked, “What if you tried this?”

monthly meeting template

My suggestion was to use the grid as a template for a monthly meeting where they take a near-term look at the highest and best uses of their time and attention against the goals they’re trying to accomplish. The point of the discussion is to pull the lens back and get clear on what they and their teams need to start, stop, and continue doing over the next 30, 60 and 90 days. The other key question is where do one or more of them need to intervene in the broader organization to start something that would help, stop something that’s not helping, or make sure something important continues?

Leaders who work with me know how much I use the idea from my mentors Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky that leaders need to regularly shift their perspective from the dance floor to the balcony so they can get a bigger picture perspective on what they’re doing, what’s working and what’s not working. An hour a month to get up on the balcony with your team and get clear about how you’re going to operate on the dance floor over the next 30, 60 and 90 days can go a long way to reducing the swirl and churn and the frustration that comes with it.

I’ve been sharing this balcony to dance floor planning template with other leaders and leadership teams lately and am getting good reports back. Click here to get a free copy of the template that you can use with your team. I’d love for you to try it in an upcoming meeting and let me know how it works for you.

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