Focus On Objectives, Not Obstacles

Every human being is capable of extraordinary achievement. Any organization, any institution any group of people has the ability to impact, redefine and reshape reality for countless individuals and untold generations. We are competent, creative, hopeful and expectant beings yet too often we fail to live up to our potential. Why?

Unfortunately the truth is, given our vast intellectual capabilities, our innate skills and talents, and an inherent capacity for social cohesion rarely seen in the biological word, the results we are most adept at producing are excuses – reasons for why we didn’t, why we don’t, and why we can’t. Instead of achieving worthwhile objectives we nourish obstacles with the energy of alibis.

To overcome this failing of rendering excuses instead of celebrating success we can draw a lesson from one of America’s most storied institutions: America’s Army. The United States Army, in its two hundred and thirty-seven-plus-year history, has ranged in size from thousands of soldiers in its infancy, to over eight million in World War II. Today the Army consists of some 1.1 million soldiers in three components (Active, Reserve and National Guard). The key to the success of the Army as an institution is its adherence to ensuring that disciplined people employ effective processes to leverage the ultimate power of a massive team.

Given vast resources and control of awesome firepower, leaders in America’s Army understand the indispensable tenet of focus. The Army is, and to succeed must remain, mission focused. For any undertaking, of virtually any scale, an Army unit conducts a deliberate decision-making process, considers alternative courses of action, and produces a detailed plan of execution. The key component, the key product of that decision-making process and operational planning effort is a mission statement.

The mission statement is a well-defined task and purpose – an objective to achieve and a reason for achieving it. The mission states clearly and succinctly what is to be accomplished and why. Every soldier, every member of the unit from the commanding officer to the very last private, must understand the mission completely – the task and the purpose. Each soldier then focuses all his or her energy and effort planning for, preparing for, and then executing to achieve the intended outcome. Soldiers focus on the objective to achieve extraordinary results.

To succeed, you too must be mission focused. Apply your energy, your talents, and enlist the support of your allies to achieve a worthwhile objective. You will encounter obstacles and you must take them into account, but don’t lose your focus. Focusing on obstacles is a strategy for failure. To win, to succeed, whether in battle or in business, deliberately, actively focus on the mission at hand. Focus on the objective, not the obstacles, and succeed wildly.

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