Association Leadership - January/February 2016 - (Page 18)

PROF E S SIONA L DEV E L OPM E N T FOCUS POCUS: The Magic Single-Mindedness By Mary Byers, CAE W e live and work in a world filled with distractions. As technology advances, the number of diversions increases exponentially. It's tempting to believe that the way to succeed is to not only keep abreast of the changes, but to be intimately familiar with what's going on everywhere. And yet Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, attributes his own success to focus. He said, "My success, part of it certainly, is that I have focused in on a few things." Obviously, he recognizes the value of "focus pocus" and the magic of single-mindedness. (Twice a year, Gates secludes himself for a week to do nothing but read articles-his record is 112-and books, study technology, and think about the bigger picture. Though he sees the value of keeping abreast, he also realizes he can't possibly know everything 18 January/February 2016/Association LEADERSHIP about everything all the time, a valuable realization for us as well.) Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar also preached focus. "I don't care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don't harness it and focus it on a specific target and hold it there you're never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants," said Ziglar. The same is true for associations-and the professionals who staff them. In my work as a consultant, I've seen the challenge of being inundated with ideas and suggestions from well-meaning volunteers and the frenetic talent it takes to juggle today's incoming ideas with yesterday's. I've seen organizations lurch from project to project based on the president's initiative-of-the year and watched a year later as the project fades when a new leader takes office. And I've seen the schizophrenia that occurs when it's time to figure out how to fund and staff a

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Association Leadership - January/February 2016

MESSAGE FROM THE MAGAZINE CHAIRMAN
HOMEPAGE
60-SECOND SOLUTIONS
QUICK TAKES
Communicating on Common Ground
Focus Pocus: The Magic of Single-Mindedness
THOUGHT L EADERSHIP
Connect Texas Recap
Safe & Sound: Meeting Security in Today’s World
DESTINATION PLANNER
NEW MEMBERS
INDEX TO ADVERTISERS
WORK SMARTER

Association Leadership - January/February 2016

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