Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Specialisation and the Power of Focus

Dart by Asif Akbar

Dart by Asif Akbar

I had an excellent MDHub100 work group today. The work groups I think of as being most like AA for CEOs and MDs. A place where you can relax in the company of trusted peers and share your deepest, darkest issues.

It was attended by Paul Feist from Feist Hedgethorne and Zoe Porteous from Boutique Communications. Most ably facilitated again by Fi Shafer from Omega Blue.

A lot of the conversation was about business specialisation. I was arguing that specialised businesses – those with a niche focus – had a number of advantages:

  1. Enforced creativity: you have to innovate products and services to maintain a strength and grow revenues in your chosen niche
  2. Ability to cross-propagate best practice and ideas across clients
  3. Continually increasing expertise/ knowledge in the area
  4. Reduction of noise/ thrashing in switching focus between different areas. One industry/ one niche = one focus
  5. Ability to act as a forum for industry interaction (roundtables/ seminars etc.)

As well as wider advantages the more successful/ bigger the company becomes:

  1. Ability to develop thought leadership
  2. Ability to help guide/ make the market as a market leader
  3. Ability to act as an ‘interest’ group/ leader for your niche/ clients
  4. Blue-sky innovation: you can create completely new things for your market/ sector (contrasts with the ‘run-rate’ product and service innovation required to grow revenues

What occurred to me after the meeting when I was playing the discussions through was that I hadn’t even thought about drawing a parallel between advice for the corporate and the individual.

A number of my posts have concerned focus. The common themes coming from most personal development writings include:

  1. Focus on doing a small number of things well
  2. Define and envisage a very precise successful outcome
  3. Dedicate yourself to being the best you can in what you do
  4. Endeavour to spend time with the best people to model their leading performance
  5. Set clearly defined goals and relentlessly pursue them

So, all of a sudden the arguments for corporate specialisation take on a whole new ‘human dimension’ when you consider that a corporation or company is just a group of people who have come together for the achievement of a common goal……

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3 thoughts on “Specialisation and the Power of Focus

  1. Question, should specialisation be driven primarily by passion or opportunity? Not allowed to say both, too easy ;o)…

  2. As if I’d say both….. ;-)

    I will however give a two-fold answer.

    I honestly think that passion without opportunity would get you further over a longer period of time than opportunity without passion.

    However, I think that the application of a correctly identified core competence, applied to a specialist opportunity (that you are not particularly passionate about) could give you the best of both worlds. You get to maximise the benefits that could accrue from the opportunity, whilst passionately enjoying the application of your core competence.

    So, for example, if you’re excellent at delivering customer satisfaction for the lowest cost possible, could you optimise your strategic situation by looking for a profit maximising opportunity where you could apply your core competence with passion?
    Call centre team training specialists?

    Of course, this again makes an assumption. That you’re passionate about what you’re excellent at?

  3. Pingback: How to Improve Time Management: The Blockers to Focus « Just Seven Things

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