Community//

The Path to Innovating Your Career Will Require Focus

Four powerful questions you can ask yourself to stay focused and on track

Let’s review what we can learn from the behavior of companies.

The attributed quote is from their book The Innovator’s Solution.  Within the book, they put forth a persuasive argument that many companies go after the wrong customers, focused on attribute-based markets (e.g. demographics) as opposed to focusing on what the customers are trying to get done.   Further, they assert that while this has been proven countless times, leaders struggle with shifting their approach.  They state four primary reasons, the first being fear of focus.

The book was published in 2003, so the companies being discussed in one example competing with each other are RIM (Research in Motion and maker of the Blackberry device), Palm (maker of the Palm Pilot), Nokia and HP.  They outlined how each of those companies could really focus on the jobs their customers wanted to get done and thus who the true competitors were.

As an example, for RIM’s Blackberry device, the customer wanted to be productive in small snippets of time.

When the customer wanted to get that job done and didn’t pick up a Blackberry, the true competitors were typically a wireless phone, the Wall Street Journal, staring mindlessly at the CNN Airport Network or sitting with glazed eyes in a boring meeting.

Those were the real competitors, not the functionality in the other devices of the aforementioned players in the Productivity category.

With that knowledge, RIM could have taken a very deliberate path to innovate versus watching each other and playing “keep up” on feature functionality.

Applying this to your career

Focus is tough for us, particularly in our FOMO (fear of missing out) environment, where we have tons of information coming at us.  Managed correct, this is actually a good thing.  Information can help us stay informed and provide us with insights to navigate.

In order to focus and prioritize your efforts, you must have filters that allow you to discard the unimportant and laser in on the most important.  Here are four filters to start with relative to innovating your career:

  1. What are your gifts, the things you do best and have a natural inclination for, without even trying hard? Things that you do easily and if you really tried, could be spectacular at?
  2. Who wants to use and purchase your gifts, either as an employer or a direct customer?
  3. What are the other options for those who would use and purchase your gifts (the competitors)?
  4. How could you continue to learn and develop your gifts to be better than those other options?

My encouragement to you is to use information judiciously, resist the need to “keep up with everyone” versus focusing on what is important. 

Let me know if you find the filters helpful!

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Female Disruptors: Tianna Bell is shaking up the green beauty space with a women of color beauty company

by Akemi Sue
Community//

5 Ways to grow your Business

by Mike Souheil
Community//

When Bigger Isn’t Better (In Business)

by Darrah Brustein

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.