Focus for Excellence

Foto: Jonathan Marchal

Foto: Jonathan Marchal

After experiencing another brilliant musical performance yesterday, I am inspired to, yet again, reflect and draw parallels between music and working life. This time the honour goes to the violinist Augustin Hadelich who performed Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in The Grieg Hall in Bergen.

In today’s society, we tend to focus on accomplishing a lot. The lifestyle of multitasking comes with stress and potential burn out. To avoid this we are often getting the advice to deliver only 80%, which is “just good enough” and will allow us to carry on and do more.

Yesterday’s concert and the performance of Hadelich reminded me of the opposite: At times, to truly advance and rise to the next level, it takes no less than 100% delivery and perfectionism. To be able to deliver 100% – not to mention to overdeliver – we have to prioritise and focus on just a few matters of the highest importance. It is often the adequate strategy to deliver 80% when we have (too) many tasks on our to do lists. However, to deliver an experience and performance over and above all expectations, requires focus and a lot of effort. The feeling of accomplishment and complete mastery is also a highly rewarding experience that increases self-esteem and confidence. And I can promise you, to be on the other side and receive such a delivery is a truly fantastic and unique experience.

So, maybe we should prioritise and deliver our best on those few topics we choose to focus on, and to achieve this, be more critical and restrict both the number of appointments in our calendars as well the tasks on our “to do lists”? What do you think?

I have at previous occasions touched upon the role the conductor plays in an orchestra (The Art of Simplifying Complexity, Musicality in the Board Room). In this case again, this role is key to bring forward the different parts of the music in a wholistic setting, combining the soloist with the orchestra in a way that pleases and engages the audience. It requires focus and a 100% delivery to orchestrate such a fantastic experience, and it was made clear to me, once again, that one should never underestimate the role of the leader when aiming for extraordinary results

Do you make ekstra time for what is most important? When was the last time you assessed what you devote your time to?

If you need some inspiration, I highly recommend two books by Greg McKeown, “Essentialism” and “Effortless”, which provide great tips on how to prioritise and focus to achieve extraordinary results. If you prefer having a sparring partner to assess your priorities and make sure you allocate time accordingly, look for a good coach who can help you keep your focus where it needs to be.