A few weeks ago I examined how maneuver warfare applies to entrepreneurship. Hopefully, you see it as a key aspect of your plan to more quickly defeat the negative attitudes and uncertainty holding you back. An essential aspect of employing this concept is determining where and how to focus your effort. The Marine Corps calls the practice of concentrating combat power the Main Effort. Let’s translate this idea to entrepreneurship.
While I advocate living a balanced, purposeful life based on the Three Pillars of Fitness – Physical | Mental | Spiritual, attempting to focus on all three simultaneously will dilute your ability to reach your goals. On a daily basis, concentrate on a single outcome.
The key points of the Main Effort in Marine Corps doctrine are:
- Of all the actions going on within your business, recognize one as the most critical to success at that moment. As you work on your business, each day should focus on the activity crucial to moving it forward, be it marketing, sales, product development, or something else.
- The Main Effort involves a physical and moral commitment, although not an irretrievable one. While the Main Effort embodies the action you will take, your commitment must be deeper than task completion. Dedication at the highest level is required to propel you through the inevitable vicissitudes.
- Faced with a decision, ask yourself: How can I best support the Main Effort? Having made such a profound commitment, reinforce it by making all future choices through its lens.
- The practice of concentrating all your power toward the Main Effort necessitates the willingness to accept prudent risk elsewhere. When focusing on a singular direction by definition you are excluding everything else. This entails some risk. Occasionally, your family may feel neglected or your fitness may decline. End each day by assessing your physical, mental, and spiritual resilience so you will know when the risk is no longer prudent and requires a shift in your Main Effort.
- As the situation changes, you may shift the Main Effort. Seek to exploit success rather than reinforce failure. As demonstrated by maneuver warfare, your ability to identify and quickly exploit opportunity increases your likelihood of success. When you make the inevitable shifts in Main Effort, do not wait for a crisis, rather look for situations in which you can address the issue requiring the change without weakening your overall thrust toward your goal. Add an extra day or two onto your business trip dedicated solely to time with your spouse and family. Change a sit-down meeting to a walking meeting.
Essential to unity of effort by your team, as the leader, strive for a clear expression of the intent and expectations supporting your Main Effort. Then ensure that everyone involved realizes the burden of understanding it falls on all team members. You must make your purpose perfectly clear but in a way that does not inhibit initiative.
Applying the short-term focus of your Main Effort will dramatically increase your ability to achieve your goals.
What is the Main Effort in your life right now?
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