Focus on the Critical Few

World class organizations are keeping their daily management processes alive with the help of technology.  Zoom meetings and excel spreadsheets designed to bring people together to ensure the company’s strategy is being executed are turning out to be a value approach, but they do propose a risk….. The risk of not focusing on the critical few.

The Critical Few

All organizations, large and small, are limited in some way to resource capacity.  No organization can do all they would like to, which is why it is so important to focus on those critical actions that have to take place.  And with limited resources, most organizations realize there can only be a few.

We traditionally call these critical actions the critical few.

Organizations need to focus their attention and resources on these actions even at the expense of some important task that may need done.  It is a matter of prioritization.  The decisions are never easy, but they are necessary.

The Risk Caused by Technology

The real strength in excel spreadsheets and zoom meetings is their ability to present a lot of information easily.  A company’s entire financial record can be displayed in tabs on a spreadsheet and with the capabilities of remote meeting software the entire spreadsheet can be shown in frames on everyone’s screen at the same time.  Likewise, e-mail allows us to send more information for review by the presenter during the meeting.

The risk is losing the focus on the critical few.  It is easy to image an online meeting begin hours long as every detail of a quality problem is reviewed with pictures, historical spreadsheets and copies of e-mail exchanges.  The loss in all of that is focus.

The Countermeasure

The design of a spreadsheet for a daily management online meeting is a great opportunity to ask; what is our priority, what are the critical few, what will we include and what will we reserve for later time. Realize that a great strategy is as much about what you will not do as what you will do.

Help your organization focus on the critical few.  The hardest part is sometimes just identifying them.


Jeff Boris

Jeff Boris

Jeff completed a 31 year career at Alcoa in engineering, Maintenance, Production, and 5 years as Location Manager. He currently consults across manufacturing facilities leveraging his plant management experience for excellence in EHS, Operations Management, and Cost analysis. He and his wife have 4 adult children. He currently lives in Newburgh, Indiana.
Jeff Boris

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