Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Focus on Substance

In challenging times and when facing tough issues, it's easy to get distracted or overwhelmed by a flurry of possibilities, opportunities or actions.

A focus on substance can help. People often spend their time thinking about how to make something sound good rather than focusing on the substance that will make it good. Rather than taking the time to articulate an intention, they throw out scattered ideas and bemoan a lack of direction. Rather than offering leadership or thoughtful direction on moving forward, they focus on word choice and paragraph order for what others suggest. It may feel like progress or what is needed to move things forward, but it lacks a clarity and commitment that are essential for the organization to make sustainable progress.

Next time you are about to embark on a project or feel like you're spinning your wheels, focus on articulating substance with a few guiding questions:
  • are you clear on the intention?
  • do you know how you want the 'it' to advance your mission and build your brand?
  • have you determined success?
  • how have you pushed the envelope?
  • have you articulated the details that support the 'it'?

Clarity and commitment in these areas will help you communicate in a way that connects with the people who can help you make progress and move forward.
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