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This week’s focus: In the next few weeks I will finish my second book, which is tentatively called First and Fast and is due to be published early in 2016. The book focuses on how business leaders can step-change the speed and agility of their organizations and as part of my research I met Richard Baker, the former CEO of Boots the Chemists. In our conversation Richard emphasized the critical importance of focus in driving both pace and growth. As he put it, “You can’t spray and sprint!

Avoiding the temptation not to try and do too much at any one time is one of the hardest challenges facing most senior executives. There are so many new opportunities and ideas in the digital age and, in many organisations, so many issues to resolve, that it often feels like you need to do everything at once. That feeling is wrong! If you try do everything now you run the very real risk of not delivering anything at all. As initiatives compete for resource, attention and support, they simply hit into each other, slowing and impeding progress.

Start-up business leaders know that they must focus on a handful of priorities, as do those facing severe turnaround issues. Yesterday, for instance, the CEO of Morrisons set out just six priorities for the struggling retailer. It is the relatively established and successful businesses where the problem lies.

What steps are you taking to identify and pursue just a handful of priorities to accelerate pace and growth?

Off The Record: Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

You got a fast car

I want a ticket to anywhere

Maybe we can make a deal

Maybe together we can get somewhere

© Stuart Cross 2015. All rights reserved.