Focusing to level up

September 18, 2014

By Tracey Parsons


Fall for me is more of a new year. I have always been mentally on a school calendar. Fall means taking a look at things anew. I don’t make many New Year’s Resolutions because I do most of my assessments in the fall at back-to-school time. And in the spirit of leaves turning, let’s take a look at where we are to start thinking about where we can go next.

How can we graduate from where we are to get closer to where we want to be?

The Assessment

Take a look at your social media marketing history. You’ve probably been in social media now for 5+ years. And my guess is that it is kind of on autopilot at this point. You know what your content themes are, and you’re pretty consistent. You know you are probably posting more about yourself than you should be. You are getting the same-ish results month after month if you are brave enough to look at results. Autopilot is soooo easy. People like it. It is working well enough. #AmIRight?

The Goal

But wait, autopilot isn’t good enough for us, is it? So, let’s go back into the social archives and take a look…what was the “one thing” you wanted to accomplish with social all those years ago? Has that changed? Probably not. I mean it has evolved from its earliest days, but have the goals changed? So, what was your #1 goal when you started? And its ok if your first goal was to get on social because someone told you that our brand needs to be on social. Take a look, does that goal apply today? Does it align with the business objectives? If not, it’s time to put up a new goal. And this time, commit to maintaining the goal, because goals shift and change. We should all be maintaining our goals far more regularly than we are.

The Focus

We all know that goals should be actionable, measurable, and blahblahblah. But what I think the idea is missing is focus. Pick “ONE THING”; one goal for the coming quarter. Just one. I recommend getting your team and stakeholders in a room and talking about the “one thing”. In that meeting, get broad buy in. This really pays off in the long run, trust me (or jump to the What You’ll Get header). Make sure that as many people in the organization support this “one thing” approach. Rally the team to align around the “one thing.” Now, I will caution you that when you are setting the “one thing,” make sure it is specific and do not mash a bunch of goals all together. For example, you could set a goal that says:

Increase traffic to our website from social. OR

Increase likes and shares on our social accounts. OR

Generate leads from our content.

NOT: Increase engagement and traffic on social to generate leads. (#cheating)

Have a monomaniacal focus on “one thing.” And then measure it. Frequently. And adjust the work to support the goal and the outcome.

What you’ll get

When you hone in on “one thing,” you will find that all the ideas that come up over the course of a quarter (or day/week/year) either support the goal, or don’t. The ones that don’t support the goal, don’t get implemented. The ones that do, well, they get implemented. This focus will allow you to do more that matters to the goal. And because you have broad alignment on the “one thing,” you now have something to point to in a conversation that can end with a “No, we are not moving forward with this because it doesn’t support the one thing.” I know that this statement can be dynamite in a large organization; however, with broad alignment the statement is less explosive because you have something to point to that you all agreed to. And to shift focus from the goal will lead you to a scattershot approach and not allow you to truly measure the impact.

All resources should be focused on that “one thing” and all the work that is done should be contributing to achieving the “one thing.” It simplifies the work experience. If simplifies difficult conversations. It simplifies everything you do because you know the one, specific thing you are moving toward.

It isn’t easy to get to the “one thing” or get the alignment, which is why it doesn’t happen often. It’s easier to be scattershot trying to do everything good enough as opposed to doing one thing incredibly well. Monomaniacal focus can achieve great things, but like anything, you need to decide to start. Are you ready to start sharpening your focus? Or are you already focused? If so, hit up the comments and let me know what your “one thing” is.