Introduction Focus is one single concept that can make a whale of a difference to one 's life. It is important at different stages of our life. It is important in our school and college studies. It is very important in the planning phase of one's career. It is important for career success, as planning here demands more focus than anything else. It is important in marriage too. It is important in the post 40 age period and even after retirement.
Focus, then boils down to effective planning and execution. Implicit in this emphasis is the total absence of any disturbance that can often result in a waste of resources, money and even happiness. And to ensure that, it is essential the Focus is centered around a) Most effective Goal setting at every stage b) Monitoring of short term objectives and long term objectives c) Rubbing shoulders with professionals to make systematic progress d) Sharpening the saw regularly and e) Go the extra mile.
Most effective Goal setting at every stage This is relevant at various stages of one's life. For example, if the children needed to be guided properly by the parents, the parents have a very big role to play. They too need goals, like getting the required money in place to finance the cost of education. For example, the son would need to become very competitive in terms of his understanding of the various options at the age of 15. This author knows of one particular boy from a very small village near Dindigul, a district headquarters town, exactly one hundred kilometers from a bigger town and also the fourth largest town in Tamil Nadu, called Tiruchirapalli. The father took the boy to the best college called St. Joseph 's College at Tiruchirapalli. He was introduced to a good professor, who would always guide any student. At the end of his plus two examinations, he was able to secure a seat at the College to pursue the BSc( Chemistry) course. Three years went in a flash. He passed the degree with a First Class and Distinction. In the meanwhile, the professor arranged the student to go over to Chennai and prepare for the CAT examination. In the meanwhile, he was employed as a chemist in a small organization. Though he was just able to manage his expenses, he passed the examination and went on to do his PGDM at IIM, Bangalore. All through the boy 's higher education, the father had shown a lot of tact and patience. His focus and his son's focus was rewarded.
It is not only the above case. In every move of ours, we need to have Focus. The focus should not be centered on the immediate tasks, but also long term ones. We need a passionate focus on all aspects of a particular task. There cannot be any shortcomings at all. Have we not seen how the great M.S. Dhoni always had plan B so that such a move would enable fall of a wicket or someone coming up with a century? He was and is always Mr. Cool with a big Focus. His goal setting was perfect. Similarly, every single move of the company called Unilever is very well planned and executed. The long term goals are always never lost sight of. The short-term objectives are scientifically planned. One understands that major marketing decisions are taken only after extensive marketing research.
Monitoring of short-term objectives and long term objectives There are always short- term objectives for each of us. We also have long-term objectives. Unless we have a big focus on monitoring such short-term and long-term objectives, we cannot succeed in life. This is all the more so since the whole corporate scenario is so unpredictable in so many areas. The macro influences are also having their own impact. For example, the slowdown in China is affecting the profit position of many companies. This forces them to go slow in many markets, including India. Hence, every single individual needs to evaluate every decision carefully. This has to be compulsorily anchored under the current reality. For example, a banker in the middle management cadre wanted the opinion of this author when he got a job with a bank in Tanzania. This fellow was very much into the core banking experience. He was about to be transferred to Mumbai as well. The Tanzania job was very uncertain. The head hunter zeroed in another banker who was this person 's friend. It was a typical banking job. However, the individual took a big risk, resigned from his public sector job and went all the way to Tanzania. The poor fellow had to undergo the worst of time under a horrible boss. He resigned his job in disgust within six months and then went to the Gulf to take up another job. The first fellow was patient and had great experience in core banking with all its complexities. This can happen to anyone but this author 's gut feeling was proved right. An uncertain environment, more so, in Tanzania is a very tricky experience. This is why evaluation of objectives is very important and calls for a lot of tact.
Rubbing shoulders with professionals to make systematic progress This is an extremely important point in the life of any individual. We are as much a product of the environment we live in. Those who are fortunate to be educated in the best of engineering or medical colleges like the IIT or NITs or JIPMER, CMC and so on, would laugh all the way to the bank. However, even those who graduate from ordinary colleges can go up the ladder if they carefully chose the organizations they work in. For example, if the organization has a large number of IIM and ISB products, life would be very tough, but the learning will be very good. It is fruitless to think that one cannot compete with these professionals. It should be noted that professional MBAs from even B grade colleges like the TA Manipal Institute of Management, Manipal or the Bharadhadasan Institute of Management, have also done exceedingly well. If one goes through the career graph of these professionals, it would be crystal clear that they learned from the best of professionals in companies like Marico Industries, Asian Paints, Havels, P&G and so on. Once again, Focus on making the right moves is very important in careers.
Sharpening the saw regularly Those who are even forty years old, take up the Fellow Program in Management from the IIMs. They are allowed small family accommodations and often have wives doing some work to keep the family going. This author has seen several such professors transforming themselves into world-class consultants after this degree, which is recognized as equivalent to the doctorate degree (Ph.D.) from any recognized Indian University. Three years of very high degree Focus on research is absolutely essential. The grinding in statistics, combined with academic rigor takes up far ahead in life. If forty-year-old people can do it, why not others? The simple fact is that those who do not update themselves will simply fall by the wayside.
Go the extra mile This is another aspect of Focus. One needs to go the extra mile. This simply means that hard work, far beyond the normal working hours is a must. At IIMA, each professor would read for a minimum of six hours, apart from their teaching hours. They simply put in so much hard work. They are consultants to the likes of the World Bank, based purely on their highest degree of scholarship. There is absolutely no short cut in life. Everything is based on hard work, with a huge Focus on results.
Conclusion Nothing works in life without Focus. A few real world experiences have been explained above, to illustrate how such a big Focus on results can be achieved. Only a few examples have been discussed. Life goes on, but to make it very meaningful, we always need Focus. Of a very tall order.