Byron's Babbles

Targeting & Focusing Your Efforts

Posted in Coaching, Education, Educational Leadership, Leadership, Learning Organization, Strategic Planning by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on February 22, 2015

Think about creating tomorrow by focusing on the “right results” and “changes in trends” rather than on just the current trends affecting your organization. An important question to ask is, “What are the right results for your organization?” Maciariello (2014) posited in Week 8’s lesson that knowing your mission or purpose is essential in choosing from among all available opportunities those that have the highest probability of producing the right results.

I compare this “focusing” to that of sunlight through a magnifying glass to start paper or grass on fire. Peter Drucker said, “Concentrate on the smallest number of activities that will focus on the greatest productivity.” (Maciariello, 2014, p. 62) I have found this to be so true in turning schools around. This is one of the most important lessons I have learned from my postdoctoral professional development at Harvard University. We talk about having too many resources. I know that sounds really weird coming from an educational leader. Too many resources? Yes, if you have not asked yourself, “What am I (or our school or organization) willing to give up?” We should abandon, or not start at all, programs where even great success is unlikely to make a significant difference.
Maciariello (2014) argued that economic results require that staff efforts be concentrated upon the few activities that are capable of producing significant business results. This would be true for schools as well. Knowing who we serve and what makes us distinct allows us to concentrate our resources on a few major opportunities. This also means being prepared to eliminate past programs and best practices that are no longer productive or getting the results needed to move our organizations to the next level. “If leaders are unable to slough off yesterday, to abandon yesterday, they simply will not be able to create tomorrow.” (Maciariello, 2014, p. 63) Without targeting and focusing on the right things we will not be able to exploit our resources strategically for success.

Just like a flashlight focused on an object in the darkness, we must target ourselves on the areas where a little success will have the greatest impact. Don’t forget the key question here: What are the “right results” for our school or organization?


Maciariello, J. A. (2014). A year with Peter Drucker: 52 weeks of coaching for leadership effectiveness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.


3 Responses

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  1. Rika said, on February 22, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    I love your thoughts about leadership !!
    I’m enjoying your blog
    You’ve got my official follow!! much love ❤


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