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Trifocal lenses: Your goggles for greatness

Dick Cross

Here’s the problem: No one talks about the whole of our Job At the Top.

We’re supposed to believe that two years at business school examining parts teaches us how to do it. Or that working long enough for people who probably aren’t very good at it does the trick.
No wonder we’ve all got room to improve!
Here’s a better alternative. My Cliff notes on how to do the Job At The Top. They’ve worked every time.
Admittedly, this is only the outline for now. We’ll dig deeper later. But just the framework will get you thinking better about the whole of your Job At The Top and how to do it well.
Businesses arise because someone has an idea that generates revenues sufficient to cover the costs. From there, success depends on our cleverness in looking through our close-in lenses and perfecting Execution.
But eventually, even perfected Execution yields declining results. Because of new competition, changing customer tastes, costs rising faster than prices, new technology and regulation. Regardless of the cause, eventually all our original business ideas must change — or fail.
Shifting your attention from the inside, through your close-in lenses of Execution, to the outside, through your mid-range lenses of Strategy, you begin to see what your business needs to become. And how to make the change.
But as solid as your new Strategy may be, changing day-to-day Execution isn’t easy. There’s natural friction between the “then” of new Strategy versus the “now” of current operations. And then there’s the predictable human reluctance to step away from what’s known for the unknown.
Shifting your field of view again to your third and longest-range lenses of Vision is how you bridge the gap. With Vision, you bring four other perspectives on your business into focus — for everyone. Through core values and purpose, you establish assurance that things people care about most won’t change. Then, by setting a heroic mission and compelling tangible images of life when it’s accomplished, you ignite zeal for making the leap.
Maintaining your organizations’ understanding of the balance between Vision, Strategy and Execution is your job. Continually reinforced through your actions, it keeps your organization confident, “on the balls of its feet” and moving forward, setting the pace for others from the other side of the gap.

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