#19 Don’t Focus On The Product, Focus On This

#19 Don’t Focus On The Product, Focus On This

The ChaosCast: Leadership Lessons From Chaos. Entrepreneur and former Navy SEAL, Jeff Boss explores the behaviors and mindsets that enable people and teams to find clarity amidst chaos and forge greatness.

In this episode, Jeff talks about the difference in performance when you focus on the process, rather than the product or outcome, for achieving your goals.

  • What you REALLY need to navigate change {[spp-timestamp time=”3:30″]}
  • Example of a process of winning {[spp-timestamp time=”3:55″]}
  • One golfer’s challenge {[spp-timestamp time=”6:39″]}
  • Why you want to focus on the process {[spp-timestamp time=”7:25″]}

[spp-tweet tweet=”Don’t focus on the product. Focus on the process. Because when you focus on the process, the product will come as a byproduct of focusing on what’s right.”]

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In today’s day and age if you aren’t learning, if you aren’t questioning best practices or asking whether those “best” practices are still “the best,” you’re on the path toward irrelevance and are dying a slow death.

There are three obstacles in our way to staying relevant. They are:

1) Technology
2) Information (overload)
3) Human nature

Let’s talk about technology first.

It’s no secret that technology advances much faster than any one person or organization’s ability to match it. The technology “out there” is typically better than whatever technology you’re using “in there”, in your organization because trying to keep up with tech just isn’t cost effective.

The second challenge is information.

The information we need in order to stay competitive is out there (wherever “there” is) but navigating through all the information that exists for the “right” information is not only time consuming but highly unlikely since what was true today may or may not be true tomorrow. Your best bet for staying competitive is to aim for the 70% solution and adapt the rest of the way.

The third challenge is human nature and, more specifically, the natural tendency for humans to want to be right.

Here’s what you need.

A process. Have a process for decision making, have a process for meeting, have a process for communicating. And you might be saying, “Sure we have a process. We meet every day or every week and talk about XYZ.” that’s not what I mean. A process is something replicable, scalable and repeatable for the masses and achieves the purpose it set out for itself. Here’s an example.

In 1911, two teams of explorers set out to be the first people on earth to make it to the south pole. One team reached the south pole successfully while the other team failed—they arrived an entire month after the winning team already got there and subsequently perished in the arctic winter.

The question is, how? Both teams mirrored each other both in experience and competence. They began at roughly the same times—within days of each other—and faced the same weather conditions, so the environment was the same for both. Yet one team won, and the other failed. So what separated the winners from the losers?

The winners had a process. They identified a goal of hitting 20 miles every day along their trek and stuck to it religiously no matter how good or how bad they felt. If they were exhausted at the end of 15 miles, oh well, they had 5 more miles to go, but on days they felt like they had more energy they still maintained just 20 miles. And they repeated this process, day in day out, week after week until, month after month. They were consistent and they didn’t deviate from their process. Everyday they hit their 20mile mark whereas the losing team marched without a plan and without a process.

Now, think of your team or company meetings. Do you achieve the goal of that meeting every time?

Does how you make decisions differ or change from one major project to another? Do you consult different people because if you do, you’re likely getting different biases, as well.

The point is, a process takes the thinking out of it and in today’s age of information overload, you want to save your thinking power for complex matters. Decision fatigue is a very real threat to individual and organizational performance, and if you don’t manage it by managing yourself, well, you’re not doing anybody any favors. It may feel like you’re making progress but you’re really only getting to the wrong place faster.

If you think about it, boxers have a process they go through before a big fight. They get into the “zone” by whatever personal habits they’ve created for themselves.

I gave a presentation the other day to a PGA club and one of the audience members came up to me…

His challenge was that he was focusing on the product not the process; he was focusing on the endstate of where he wanted to be, found himself frustrated that he wasn’t there, and that frustration impacted his self-talk which, in turn, impact his performance.

Don’t focus on the product. Focus on the process. Because when you focus on the process, the product will come as a byproduct of focusing on what’s right.

Break down the process into 4 phases:

A cue.
Body positioning or some other form of alignment.
A mental image of doing it “right”
A mental image of having done it “right”

Let’s break each of these down, starting with…

A cue. You want a physical cue that acts as an anchor. An anchor is something that immediately helps you get in the mindset of whatever that anchor is associated with but the point here is that having something tangible TO focus on,

Is what helps bring your focus to the forefront, TO the task at hand.

For me, whenever I approached a target in the navy and that target was a bit more nerve racking than others just based on intel reporting, I would focus on my breathing [explain]…

That physical cue–of breathing–put my mind in a more concentrated state.

Basketball players go through the same routine at the free throw line, golfers do the same before they hit the ball–they all have a cue, whether it’s how they hold the basketball, how many times they dribble or how they hold the club, but that cue gives them the permission TO focus.

That’s #1.

#2 is body positioning. Whether you’re shooting a gun, swinging a golf club, or doing deadlifts you want to align yourself the same way every time because that builds muscle memory and allows you to PERFORM without thinking. The less you have to consciously think about each and every micro movement, the smaller your margin for error.

#3: Visualize the behavior you’re about to execute. Think about the body mechanics, think about the self talk that goes through your mind–this is important. This is exactly where your self talk will be revealed as positive, or negative. If it’s negative immediately replace it. just push it out. Say thanks for coming, and replace it.

This is a critical, CRITICAL part of the process because you want to ensure that whatever it is you’re focusing on is something that will hold your focus; something that you can duplicate over and over again so you can…make it a process…and something that won’t allow negative thoughts to permeate it.

If we go back to the golf example (since this was a PGA event that I spoke at), and break this down into a 3 part process, it might look like this:

Your cue: you grab the putter the same way out of the bad every time, give it a twirl.
Body positioning: You align yourself with the club and the hole
#3 Visualize: you visualize yourself putting correctly and give yourself a phrase to focus on such as, “1, 2,Putt.” and you say that over and over again.

Now here’s #4, and this one’s equally important, and that is follow through.

Make sure you visualize yourself following through with the task because all too often, people think that they can stop at the swing, at the throw, at the lift, but it’s not over. Always visualize your next move because that next move sets you up for…your next process.

And the cycle continues.