The ‘Sweet Spot’ of Leadership: Focus with Flexibility
Being able to focus on a task and carry it through to completion is a skill set my parents instilled in me and my siblings from a young age. Focus and follow through have also been skills that I’ve worked hard at developing. I love having a goal, figuring out how to accomplish it, and doing the work it takes to see it become a reality.
The ability to get a vision, make a plan, and follow it through to completion is a very valuable thing. But is it possible to be too focused?
The answer is yes.
Seasons change. People change. You change.
My years leading worship teams have taught me the importance of staying focused while also remaining flexible.
When you’re so focused and driven that you lose the ability to innovate or make adjustments as the situation demands, your focus can become more like tunnel-vision.
With your drive to achieve the goal set before you must also come an ability to be flexible as circumstances change or new information becomes available. While focus with flexibility may sound like a paradox, in reality, it is the most effective way of advancing toward your objectives. You need to be adaptable and flexible to roll with the punches and tweak a vision or plan as needed and then continue running after your goal.
If you think of focus and flexibility as two ends of a spectrum, it becomes easy to see how either extreme is ineffective at best and disastrous at worst. The rigid, driven, intensely focused individual does not like to take changing circumstances and new information into consideration. He is unwilling to listen to anything that will take him off-course from his well-laid plans. Imagine going on a road trip with someone of this personality type. Any unscheduled pit-stop is unthinkable, whether it be for food, rest, or checking out an attraction.
At the other extreme, you have the laid back, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants individual who has a million ideas but no direction. He’s so easily distracted that he changes plans at the drop of a hat or perhaps doesn’t even have a game-plan at all. A road trip with someone of this personality type is likely to include meandering from leisurely meals to browsing tourist shops, to checking out anything that sounds interesting along the way. While this kind of flexibility can be fun, it is far from the most effective way to reach your destination.
The best way to get where you’re going is to stay between these two extremes. Stop long enough to enjoy the journey, but arrive at your destination in a timely manner.
Focus with flexibility is the most effective way of advancing toward your objectives. You need to be adaptable and flexible to roll with the punches and tweak a vision or plan as needed and then continue running after your goal. Click To Tweet
Sometimes we don’t want to let up on our focus or vision because it’s too painful to give up on achieving exactly what we planned how we planned it. Other times, it’s because we’re genuinely unaware of the need to change due to our tunnel vision. Still other times, we’ll be aware for weeks, months, or even years that a change is needed before we finally lay aside our fear or pride and make the necessary adjustment.
No one likes admitting that they may have made a miscalculation or that a goal may not be attainable by the method originally planned. But instead of viewing the altering of a plan as a failure, try to see the ability to tweak your approach as the situation demands as a success of its own.
Do you struggle to focus in on a goal?
Do you have difficulty sticking with a course of action once you’ve decided on it?
Or do you struggle to be flexible once you have a plan in place?
The sweet spot that we need to pursue is a blend of both that allows us to run toward the finish line while having the flexibility to make adjustments as needed so that we can actually arrive there. Click To Tweet
The sweet spot that we need to pursue is a blend of both that allows us to run toward the finish line while having the flexibility to make adjustments as needed so that we can actually arrive at our destination.
No matter where you find yourself on this spectrum, ask God to begin helping you to be aware of the areas of your life that may need greater focus or greater flexibility.
Huge thanks to my friend Jordan Vanderplate for letting me use this photo of Naalehu, HI. Check out more of his work here.