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Written by Don Tinney

It is always a challenge to keep individuals and organizations focused, but that’s what great leaders do. Distractions abound, but great leaders have an internal compass that keeps them from drifting off course. Two things set your bearings – your why and your what. For companies implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, those two things combine to form your Core Focus™. Once you define your Core Focus, you’ll be less likely to be distracted by “shiny stuff.”


Discovering Your Why

The first part of defining your Core Focus is to discover your “Why” – your common purpose, cause or passion. It’s why you get out of bed in the morning, why you’re excited to come to work, and why all the hard work is worth it in the end.

Without this common purpose, cause, or passion you will never become a great leadership team. When distractions appear, your team will quickly drift off course in different directions. And if your leaders are distracted, there’s not much hope for keeping the rest of the troops in line. If your team has become unfocused, you must find or return to your why.

Identifying Your What

The second part of your Core Focus is to identify your “What”. We call this your niche – the thing you can be truly great at and enjoy doing.

If your passion as a leader is to enrich the lives of the elderly, you can live out that passion doing many things. You can run an assisted living facility, provide charter tours to exciting places, create mobility devices, supply hearing aids, etc. The list could get very long.

To be a truly great company, you must focus your efforts and identify the one thing your company can excel at. It sounds simple – how hard can it be to just pick one? But many companies struggle to decide on their niche because it means they’ll have to start saying no – to people, to opportunities, and to customers that don’t fit.

Once you push past the fear of missing out, you’ll find that it’s easier to make decisions and solve issues when your what is clear.

The Foundation for a Great Business

With your why and what clear, you now have the foundation for a great business. As a leader, all you need to do is bring people into your business who share your core values, embrace your why, and have the capacity to do your what very well. When you have a clear why and what and get the right people on board, leading and managing is much easier.

If you have added people to your business who don’t share your core values and your why, these people are wrong for your organization. They will slow you down and make your journey more difficult. Replace them with people who care about what you care about.

If you have added people who don’t do what you do very well, train them to increase their capacity or replace them with people who really get what you do, want to do what you do, and are really good at doing what you do.

Next Steps

  • Request a free 90-Minute Meeting for your leadership team to learn how EOS can help you clarify, simplify, and achieve your vision.
  • Read Chapter 3 of Traction by Gino Wickman to learn more about defining your Core Focus.