Businesses stop focusing on the customer. Others lose sight of their values or purpose. Still others try to advance in too many directions at once. It’s the same with people. Relationships, dreams and pursuits fail because we can’t keep our eyes on the things that truly matter.
Military doctrine has a device for dealing with distraction. It’s the concept of the Main Effort. In every military mission, the commander designates several supporting efforts and one main effort—that part of the operation that must succeed for the overall mission to be successful.
The main effort has 3 characteristics, it’s…
1. Success-bound. The main effort is what you bet everything on, the one thing that everything hinges on. Every other aspect of your plan could fail, but if you’re successful in your main effort, you’ve succeeded. Likewise, if you succeed on every other front, but fail to accomplish your main effort, then the whole operation was a failure.
2. Singular. There can only be one main effort. It is the priority. Force yourself to find this one single point of victory. The clearer you are about your main effort, the more confidence your team will have in making decisions and executing. Likewise, the more vague you are about what’s truly important, the more hesitant and divided your team will be.
3. Supported. The main effort is the number one show in town. Everyone and everything else exists to make it successful. If you have an activity that isn’t directly or indirectly supporting the main effort, stop it. It’s wasting resources that aren’t contributing to success.
I find that if I can identify and communicate my main effort in any endeavor it keeps me and those around me focused on the right things.
What’s your main effort today?