For Impact



For Impact Ideas | | Tom Suddes

Yesterday, Microsoft announced Satya Nadella as its next CEO, the third in the company’s history. Almost every article I have read on this so far mentioned that his primary and immediate objective is around FOCUS.  (For Microsoft, it looks like it means mobile and cloud … to “empower people to do amazing things”.

Here is his first letter to the all of the employees if you haven’t seen it.  Gotta love this quote: “I am here because we have unparalleled capability to make an IMPACT.”

When Steve Jobs went back to Apple after the Sculley disaster, his primary objective was also around FOCUS.  He cut 29 products to 4!  (Should have been 3, but still …)

When Larry Page returned to the top job at Google in 2011, he said, “Ever since taking over as CEO, I have FOCUSED much of my energy on increasing Google’s VELOCITY and EXECUTION.”  Again, a simple focus.

Jim Collins explains the Power of Focus with his ‘hedgehog’ concept.  In GOOD TO GREAT, his idea of FOCUS is doing one thing and doing it well.  He uses the parable of the clever, devious fox and the simple hedgehog.  Fox keeps coming up with new ideas to eat the hedgehog, but the hedgehog always responds with the same thing:  Rolling into a thorny ball.

Peter Drucker and Tom Peters have both used the term ‘monomaniacs with a mission’ to explain the success of single-minded and focused individuals. They both talk about individuals and small groups who through extreme focus, resolve and passion have had an impact way out of proportion to their size.


Here are 3 books that can be a great resource to help you with this challenge of FOCUS.

  • THE POWER OF FOCUS.  Great book by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (of Chicken Soup fame) and Les Hewitt.
    Simple summary:  The #1 reason that stops people from getting what they want is a LACK OF FOCUS.  People who FOCUS on what they want, prosper.  Those who don’t, struggle.
    Special Note.  Some really, really, really great stuff in here on ASK for what you want.
  • SOAR WITH YOUR STRENGTHS.  There have been a ton of great books out lately on FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS.  This was my first exposure to this concept in 1992 by Donald Clifton and Paula Nelson.  Clifton was the Founder and Chairman of SRI Gallop.  The books lead off with the greatest story ever about FOCUSING ON STRENGTHS, called Animal School.  Best and simplest nugget:  Pick one strength and pursue it.
    Note:  Shane Parrish in Farnam Street blog mentioned Warren Buffet’s Mental Model around Circle of Competence.  Basically, Buffet says that if you stay in your Circle of Competence (what you know), you will achieve success.
  • THE ONE THING.  Great book by Gary Keller, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of Keller Williams Realty, largest real estate company in the United States.  Simple summary is focusing on the ONE THING creates huge exponential success.