Focus on What Matters

Published March 24, 2020

For most of us it feels like the only certainty is uncertainty right now. The past couple of weeks have been exhausting. Mix in organizations working from home for the first time with everything else happening right now and the stress, anxiety, and turmoil can be crippling. However, this can be a time to take a deep breath and get a clear picture of what you want to focus on (easier said than done).

As the team at a16z writes, “A crisis is an opportunity to change one’s culture, to model scenarios and set up a crisis plan/process, to become a better company. But it’s also a bit like therapy, from the act of asking probing questions to get at the facts … to dealing with emotions and conflicting agendas.”

CEO communication sets the tone for how your organization responds and iterates over time. It is your duty as a founder or CEO to take a deep breath, develop a strategy, and identify areas of focus for your business. When your back is against the wall, it can be opportunity to uncover your mission and push forward.

Elizabeth Yin, Founder of Hustle Fund, wrote a great piece about finding your purpose and mission in bleak times. She offers a challenge for leaders and individuals; “I challenge all of you to think through your personal mission. Dig deep. Then roll up your sleeves to start to build or rebuild towards it. In these challenging times, we will need all hands on deck in a whole variety of ways — in health, in business (your own or others), etc. No amount of thought, time, money / other resources, or help is too small.”

For you founders and leaders, this idea applies to your organization as well. At one point, your employees bought into your company (which was likely a personal mission) mission. Look inward at your organization and determine what truly matters and what drives your business and culture. This can be an opportunity to double down on a project, product, mission or value. On the flip side, this can be a chance to scrap a project, change a value, or re-evaluate your company mission.

As Naval Ravikant Tweeted, “Leadership in the coming months, at every level, is the audition to lead in the coming years.”

Your ability to focus, communicate, and iterate over the coming months will most certainly be a challenge. The ability to focus and lead will be rewarding not only for yourself but for your employees and others around you.

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