How to Focus Like an Executive

Career Blog

By the time you reach the C-Suite you know how to win. You’ve learned how to leverage your skills, hire around your weaknesses, and construct creative workarounds to complex problems that inhabit the messy middle. All of this takes focus and purposeful action. While you can’t rush experience, you can leverage these two seemingly opposite skills to obtain C-level results.

Avoid Distractions

Focus is expressed in the ability to rapidly assess a situation, accurately identify the best right answer, and take specific action in alignment with your purpose.  

Consider a home invasion. When faced with this emergency many will become overwhelmed and opt to confront the intruder regardless of their ability to do so. And while fight or flight is a basic human instinct, making the correct call takes more than a pre-programmed, coin-flip response. Competing over replaceable resources is a false choice – a bravado-based distraction. With focus, one would see that the true objective is escaping the situation and remaining safe.  

Business leaders can be similarly distracted by a competitor’s actions, imaginary emergencies, pet projects, or low-hanging fruit that really isn’t worth picking. Each item threatens to pull you from your path. Instead of being enticed by shining objects, methodically move toward your primary goal, going over, under, and around obstacles as necessary. 

Remain Flexible

It’s tempting to operate on autopilot once you’ve made your decision. Pundits often advise us to “stay the course”, “embrace the grind” or “live the hustle culture”. But sometimes our initial plans are faulty. When someone offers an alternative approach, take time to consider the feedback especially if what you’re doing isn’t producing the desired results.

Great goals aren’t set and forget items. They should be re-selected each day. Considering alternative approaches will allow you to confidently recommit to your course of action or choose another without hesitation. 


Ultimately focus involves two kinds of discipline – the ability to file a flight plan and the willingness adjust course en-route. This balance will not only ensure you arrive at your destination, but it will also help you avoid storms along the way.

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