My new friend, “Dr. A” (Dr. Mario Arnaldo, Hawaii Pacific University) recently reminded me of an important part of the remarkable service puzzle…Focus.
In sports, it’s called “being in the zone”. Once in this state, there’s no longer a quest to be the best…there’s an obsession. And, with that obsession comes a focus so sharp that nothing is allowed to get in the way of achieving the goal. Every conceivable distraction is tuned-out in order to give full attention to the task at hand…winning.
I just watched The Aviator (starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes). The film depicts Hughes (quite accurately according to most accounts) as an ego eccentric maniac in a constant search (and struggle) to be the best aviator in the world. His passion, obsession and focus on flying enabled him to achieve exactly that…for a time anyway.
The same principle can be applied to service performance. Without obsession, passion and focus, we can only hope to be mediocre. So, as a leader, here’s your most important job. First, find the most passionate people you can afford. Then, give them the stage (tools and training). And finally, keep them focused. The best thing you can do is to minimize or eliminate distractions (get rid of stifling rules and regulations, get non-passionate people out of the way, provide “failure support”, etc.). Do these things well, and the rest takes care of itself. Oh, and don’t forget to get out of the way.