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Stay focused on what you are

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in Leaders & Managers

Here’s a winning formula from a turnaround specialist:
  • Figure out what you do best.

  • Ignore everything else.

  • Focus.

  • Tell everybody.
  1. An aircraft and missile parts-maker was losing $2 million a year on $6 million in sales. With some outside help, its leaders found out why: The parts the company shipped ranged from $17 hinges to $48,000 housings.

    After the company tossed out its older, simpler work and concentrated on high-tech, high-margin stuff, it turned profitable again within three months.

  2. Xerox made copiers. It ran into shoals at about the time it started calling itself “The document company.” Nobody knew what that meant.

  3. Home Depot sells home improvement. A master of focus, it refused to confuse customers and carry pantyhose, even when a test showed that it could generate $30 million in sales by putting one kiosk in each store.
Bottom line: Stick to what you are. Nobody wants a Mattel pacemaker or Ford frozen pizzas.

—Adapted from Corporate Canaries: Avoid Business Disasters with a Coalminer’s Secrets, Gary Sutton, Nelson Business.

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