My family and I went abroad this past holiday season and something unexpected happened: The house we rented had recently weathered a tropical storm, and the WiFi connection was non-existent.
As you can imagine, the kids (especially my 16-year-old son Devon) were the most perturbed. The better part of me knew this was a true gift, but it still took a moment to reframe how much I would stay connected to the business.
What ended up happening, as you could likely expect, is that the whole family connected much more than we ever would have if WiFi was on. We swam in the pool, the kids played card games and we all laughed a lot. For myself, I was able to focus on what was really important, which was spending time with my family and preparing myself for 2016.
In my bookThe Way of the SEAL, I talk extensively about how to “bulletproof” a mission—the strategies and techniques used to forge a level of preparation that ensures victory once the mission begins.
A key to this strategy is the development of sustainable focus and reduction of the incessant distractions threatening to derail our efforts and drain our energy. We must learn to focus on the right things, for the right reasons and at the right time. So in 2016 we will say yes to only the most high-value targets and say no to the low-value, time and energy sucking ones that will keep us stuck in place.
How to do this is what I want to address now. For my own focusing needs, I developed a target selection process that I call “FITS”. This is the tool I introduced in The Way of the SEAL as a means to bulletproof your mission. FITS is an acronym for “Fit, Importance, Timing and Simplicity.” It’s a simple planning model that ensures resources are being properly allocated for maximum impact and return on investment – given the skills, resources, opportunities and threats you and your team faces. You can use FITS to make better decisions on which goals and targets to shoot for – to help you to maintain the discipline of focus and avoiding distraction on your way to mission success. Here is a brief overview of how it works.
Does this target fit your (or your team) skills and ethos? When you set about choosing a high-priority goal, it’s a good time to evaluate if it aligns with your personal ethos (your “why”). Also, consider how it sets with your unique combination of talents, skills and directional energy.
How important is this target to achieving overall mission success? Analyze the value of the proposed target. Where will it get you? What is the return on investment and how valuable will the goal be with respect to your overall mission? How will it set you up to tackle even larger long-term goals?
Is the timing optimal for pursuing this target? This point requires an honest assessment of whether or not it’s too early or too late to make your move on the proposed target, and where you stand against any competition when it comes to claiming the goal.
Is the target simple and clear? Is the objective fuzzy or crystal clear? Is it something you can communicate effectively and you have the team ready to rally for success? Would failure degrade your reputation, future capacities and team cohesion? Note that this is not an excuse to avoid risk, rather to ensure you don’t take uncalculated, stupid risks.
As you work on your key strategic goals for 2016, consider using this process to help you develop front sight focus and select only the right targets. Eliminate as much drag as you can so that all of your efforts accelerate your performance toward 20x outcomes.
PS: The trade paperback version of The Way of the SEAL is to be published in February. Stand by for more information! Also, if you haven’t heard I recently launched an online course companion to the book. See www.wayofthesealcourse.com