Focus: A Key To Leadership Success

Success in business is often a zero-sum game. Either you produce, or you don't. In the case of the former, there are an infinite number of ways to "produce" in a given field. But for leaders that are both successful and accessible as people, there appear to be specific skills that must be cultivated for success to be sustainable. One of those skills is focus.

I recently came across a compelling book by psychologist and author Daniel Goleman entitled Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence which reveals how high achievers that are able to focus their attention in three specific areas - one's self, others and the wider world - are much more likely to develop Smart Practices that separate their leadership styles from less innovative ones. According to Goleman, "directing attention" or focus is a primary responsibility of leaders in organizations.

In practice, leaders that are good at focusing their attention, are able to identify problems early, assign priorities to the steps for recovery and execute plans that result in appropriate solutions. Below are some of the ways successful leaders are able to concentrate their attention: 

  • Focusing on Yourself: Being authentically self-aware and taking into account how others see you allows successful leaders to be the same person to others as  you are to yourself.
  • Focusing on Others: Being able to exercise empathy and build social relationships allows leaders to find "common ground" in virtually situations. 
  • Focusing on the Wider World: Being able to apply superior listening skills, along with being a sharp questioner puts leaders in a position to effectively construct and implement strategic thinking and promote greater innovation on the teams they lead.

Now for leaders who are new to this approach to exercising the pillars of emotion intelligence, one of the questions that always comes up is "how can these concepts apply to me and my team?" After all, telling someone to "focus" on themselves, others and the wider world is easier to say than to do. 

At OVP Consulting, we believe in straightforward approaches to practice these skills.


For greater self awareness, taking a self-assessment test is the often the best way for leaders to understand how they come across to the world. From there, having one's team members take the assessment, gives a leader better insight into the motivations of their teams. This gives leaders the opportunity to begin exercising what Goleman calls emotional and cognitive empathy skills. After that, the team and its leader are ready to work together design strategic approaches to achieving organizational goals.  

We've found that this approach gives our clients a framework upon which to chart a course that clearly defines what improved performance looks like for their organizations. 

If you are interested in learning more about how the self-assessment process works, and would like help designing measurable processes that help you achieve your goals, please fill out the Contact Us form on the website. We look forward to working with you.