Also known as ‘mass,’ this principle is critical for understanding the need to concentrate effort on what is most important. In military strategy and tactics, commanders often spread their forces around and fail to concentrate sufficient power in a single location to make a decisive impact at that point. Instead of dissipating force and effort, military commanders must focus power on decisive points.
In business, we often see executives dissipating their efforts and those of their organizations by failing to focus sufficient power and mass on the most important things. This happens in the personal realm, with an inability to focus on what is most critical and decisive. This is why executives often become ineffective by putting 80% of their effort on the 20% that doesn’t really pay off. It also happens organizationally, by trying to chase too many rabbits at one time. As the saying goes, “When you chase more than one rabbit, you catch none.” It also happens in leading and managing team members. Problems are given to the best people to resolve, instead of challenging them with the best opportunities. The focus in development is also often on correcting weaknesses rather than building on strengths.
The key to implementing this principle is to find the one or two essential objectives and thrusts, and to put the bulk of the best resources available to achieving those. This may require shutting down ineffective or inefficient initiatives or operations, but that is the price that must be paid to concentrate the best and most on the highest payoff work.
© 2012 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted with full and proper attribution.