Tool #6 of 104 tools is mile deep, inch wide focus

It is easy to try to be all things to all people. Saying yes is the easiest decision. That way, you accept all ideas

It is easy to try to be all things to all people. Saying yes is the easiest decision. That way, you accept all ideas and end up rotating in circles. Yet great leaders are defined by their ability and frequency of saying no. You probably know of organisations that do a lot than the available resources and capabilities allows. They want to be in everything that comes along. They appear to be succeeding because of their size, staffing, resources and access to cheap capital. Such strategy of ‘playing in all games’ inadvertently slows down business growth.  They talk about a digital agenda, but open brick and motor branches country-wide!

The world is full of examples of exceptional leaders who attained tremendous success because they focused on one thing at a time and worked hard at it often coming across walls, annoying the authority! Martin Luther King Jr focused on civil rights movement. Steve Jobs prioritized one type of mobile phones and computer. And Bolt specialized in being the fastest man in short distances. Many of us remain mediocre because we want to do so many things at the same time. When Nelson Mandela (RIP) decided to fight the Apartheid, he did so with his whole. Everything else not contributing to the main cause never mattered. That is the power of focus. Setting priorities. Staying the course. When you chose, you come across several obstacles which many people who stop at the surface never experience because they don’t go deep. When you dig a pit latrine five meters deep, you stop before you reach the rocks and the challenges that arise with getting the soil out of a deep pit! However, your shallow pit will soon fill up and you end up suffering with emptying sewage occasionally!

When you have a small piece of land, do you dig ten 5-feet deep shallow pit latrines all over the place or you pick one location and dig one 50-feet deep pit latrine? Are you an inch-deep, mile wide kind of a leader or a mile deep, inch wide one? The deeper you go, the more efficient land user you become.

If you want to change the world, choose a cause you believe in and fight with you all. If you want to start a business, do likewise. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. There are very few, if any professionals who can succeed across all professions as lawyers, medical doctors, accountants, engineers. To make it, you must choose one profession and go deep until you pass through the hard rocks!  That is how life happens. As a Christian, Luke 12 has guidance for you. Focus on His Kingdom. God’s Kingdom, others will follow. And for opportunities to truly follow, you must decide how to win and work hard at it. Wish you success as we celebrate this Parish day!

Bernabas M. Mugisa, Mr. Strategy, helps plant the seed of transformation. Visit to become a better Board member TODAY.


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