There is a new term being thrown around my company. Maniacal Focus. This is a phase that is being used to defend poor performance. Do not worry Mr. Boss, I have a new Maniacal Focus on growing my business. I have heard it now repeated by various people, so I think this has now become an accepted phrase. It has not got escalated to the exalted status of “from the Perspective” yet, but close. BTW, people are constantly giving inanimate objects a perspective now. From a Revenue perspective, our numbers are looking pretty good. How exactly does revenue have a perspective? I could see how this would go in my family.
My beautiful, amazing, and awesome wife would come into one of my kids’ room and ask them why they had not cleaned the room as they were told. Could you imagine if they said, “Well, Mom, from a dresser drawer perspective this room is pretty clean”. Perhaps, this would work, “Do not worry Mom, I am maniacally focused on cleaning up now.” We should consider for just a moment what maniacal actually means. It is an adjective that means a person that exhibits wild, extreme and mostly violent behavior. You might think that Adolph Hitler had a maniacal approach to conquering Europe. So that is where we are at now. Do not worry, I am maniacal now. I am so wild and so violently pursuing this that you have nothing to worry about! Now that is pretty funny if you think about it!
So if I really did have a maniacal focus on anything, what would that actually mean? What actions would that really equate to? For example, if I had a maniacal focus on eating healthy – how would that really translate? I am thinking it would be like this. I would be so wild, violent and crazy about it that I would not only eradicate all bad food in my household, I would take it all out on the back patio and burn it. I would even go to the store nearby and torch the isles in the store were they hold sugary snacks. I would be picketing in front of the nearby McDonalds. I would beat myself with a cat o nine tails every time I contemplated chocolate. That is maniacal. I am not sure that is the correct phrase when describing your intent regarding focus in your life!
So when when of my sales management colleagues says they are being maniacal about sales growth, I wonder what that actually means as well!? Are they doing something really crazy and wild? Perhaps they called a client this week, oh my, that is crazy. Lets not get carried away here. I mean actually call and talk to a client? No that is way too maniacal for anybody in sales management to actually ponder seriously. Lets face it, the term maniacal is an extreme adjective being used to distract people from the truth. We are not focused on it at all. The phrase is actually an admission of guilt. I am not doing anything right now, but I plan to start doing something more aggressive soon. That is what is really meant about being maniacally focused.
So I am thinking how often do we do the same thing as my sales management is doing? We lie to ourselves. We tell ourselves that we are going to be maniacally focused on getting healthy. Really? Are you really going to focus on getting healthy? Or are you just placating yourself for another day while you stall on doing anything at all? That brings me to this point, on what being maniacal actually would translate to. You ready for it? You ready for the definition? It is going to be wild and crazy! It is only one word! That is right, if you want to be maniacally focused on something then you need to know one word. That word is:
Just say no to everything that you are doing except for the thing that you are maniacally focused on. That is what this really means. If you really want to be healthy then you are going to have to start saying no to a lot of things that are causing you distraction from healthy life style choices. Watch a movie? No. Take a walk instead. Eat chocolate? No. Drink a glass of water instead. Sit and relax? No. Relax while doing a physical activity instead. You will say No more than you will say Yes in a healthy life style. The same, btw, goes for a healthy sales culture focused on growth. A healthy sales culture learns to say, no.
Would you like this account? No. I am focused on these high growth accounts, do not distract me. Would you like to attend this meeting? No. I am focused on my clients. Would you like to handle this problem or that problem? No. I am focused on meeting with my clients. Would you like to do this non-sales activity. No. No. No. I am focused on growth. I ONLY do growth related activities. Everything else is No. In the words of my 10 year old’s favorite artist Meghan Trainor:
Nah to the ah to the, no, no, no
My name is no
My sign is no
My number is no
You need to let it go
You need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the, no, no, no
Saying NO is maniacal. In a society of yes men, and yes women, you need to be wild. You need to say no to people. As scary as that sounds, saying no is the only way to actually focus on what is important in your life. You only have room for so much in your queue to be effective. You are saying yes to way too much in your life which is causing you to spin cycles on things that do not meet your objective. Just start saying, no. For every yes, meet it with 100 nays. The successful, awesome, rich, and super focused people in the world are usually considered mean people. People like them, because they tend to be inspirational and all of that. However, on a personal level you hear reports all the time of how much of an asshole they are in real life. The reason? In my opinion, they learned to say no.
So in the words of the ultimate asshole, I give you a quote from Steve Jobs:
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
Read more on this subject by Marcel Schwante, in this article on Inc.com
This was funny! And good.
I laughed out loud
Thanks! There is a back story to this one, but it was fun to write.