I just finished reading the 2012 book The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto by Tavis Smiley and Cornel West. I will write a blog post with my lessons and takeaways soon. (I am presenting my synopsis of this book today at the Urban Engagement Book Club for CitySquare).
One line jumped out at me. In this book, the authors are primarily dealing with issues of poverty. But this principle is clear, and transferable to any organization or endeavor. Here’s the quote from the book:
Put simply, when we make anything a priority in Washington, it gets done.
In other words, people accomplish what they pay attention to. Where they invest their energies and thoughts and actions — this will tell you what will get done.
Call this focus.
There is another, incredibly obvious counter-truth to this. You will not accomplish what you don’t pay attention to.
So, very simply, here’s your key question: what are you paying attention to? What are you making an actual priority?
Answer that, and you will better realize why what is getting done is getting done—and why everything else is not getting done.
So, let’s slightly edit the quote:
Put simply, when we make anything a priority in Washington, or anywhere else, it gets done.