My brother is known in the family as the master breakfast maker in large part because he grills bacon to perfection. While I was watching his craft last weekend, I asked him what he attributes these skills to.

“I do the bacon one thing at a time,” he said. “I know that some people would have the bacon frying while the sausages are browning while the eggs are cooking, but then none of them get the attention they deserve.” The way he does it allows him to focus on the bacon item separately and ensure that it isn’t over or undercooked while he attends to the other dishes. The bacon consumes all of his consciousness until he moves on.

I hear often from employees who are trying to fry the bacon while also cooking the sausages, eggs, toast, and about seven other entrees. They may get it all done, but their “bacon” is likely not achieving perfection because of the split attention.

Most people don’t have the capacity to dedicate single-focus on every item, but your whole output will be improved if you have one element that wows. Figure out what your “bacon” is – what would provide the greatest impact if done at the highest level – and carve out the ability to give your undivided attention to creating that signature piece.


I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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