Where focus goes, energy flows.
— Anthony Robbins
TIP: Like most of the things in ResultMaps, you can set up a hashtag for your focus areas so that anything with that hashtag will be automatically aligned to the focus area.

What:  "Focus Areas" are the chunks into which efforts are categorized - typically your top high-level priorities.  

For some organizations, they are major functional areas or open-ended descriptions of the goals of those functional areas.  Examples might be "Revenue Growth", "Operational Excellence", "Marketing", etc. Some planning methods call them "Strategic Focus Areas" or "Strategic Priorities."  Others call them "Operational Areas".  We found "Focus Areas" most usable and...focusing. 

TIP: Try on a few of these focus areas if you are stumped. 
TIP: Use focus areas for individual, personal and professional ResultMaps as well.  

Why:  Focus Areas are used to help create and monitor objectives.  Chunking things into "buckets" represented by the focus areas is useful  for organizing, planning, and understanding what's happening as you execute.  

Next:  Set specific objectives in each focus area to focus efforts and measure progress.   

Methodologies and frameworks that use focus areas

Most methodology uses focus areas by one name or another.  Some of the more complex strategic planning methodologies call them organizational goals or objectives, others call them centers of excellence.  For the enterprise, focus areas can correspond to functional areas or departments.  For smaller teams, using something like the Lean Canvas can correspond to categories of effort that support the canvas model.

In larger enterprises, focus areas can also be used for things that have longer time horizons and shorter term component objectives, such as "3 year objectives".

Balanced Scorecard and other frameworks use categorizations that serve the same purpose: categories of improvement.

Samples of organizations that use focus areas

While this level of detail is typically not made publicly available, the idea is fairly ubiquitous.  It can be as simple as distinguishing "sales" from "support", or "support" from "fulfillment", or "operations".  Nonprofits tend to publish them more in their strategic plans, thus here are a few links.

Recommended reading

  • The John Hopkins link above shows nice examples
  • Our tips (blog post coming soon)