Bob's Gutsy Leadership Blog

Jedi Wisdom – May the Focus Be With You!

In Star Wars, Episode I, Qui-Gon said to Anakin:

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.”

In business, what is important is getting things done.  In pursuing that simply notion, too often we are not clear about the real goal, or even worse, we have several.  Lots of things are going on and everyone complains about being busy but in the end, the status quo remains.

Strong leaders know how to focus; they make it vividly clear what the goal is and what final achievement of that goal looks like.   One of my favorite stories in this area is about Canon.  When Fugio Matarai was named CEO over a decade ago, Canon was a mess.  Debt was over $7 billion and most of the ten or so product divisions were losing money, and there was no sense of direction.

Mitarai was the master of focus.  He shut down six money losing divisions and reorganized the company into three divisions; printers, copiers, and cameras.  Each was told their focus was to be number one in their industry, and then with each division he nailed down what the result of that focus would look like.  For example, the camera division had this simple statement as their focus:  Have no weaknesses versus comparable Sony and Nikon models and be superior on one or more important features.

Mitarai is still the CEO and today Canon is number one globally in printers, copiers and cameras.  He is the epitome of Jedi focus!  The lesson for all of us is clear.  Decide on THE key priority (not two or four; ONE), and apply laser-like focus until it is accomplished!


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