I know I have! It’s not that any one person is bad. After all, every single person of the over 500 I have hired over time have ALL been earnest in their desire to be a part of a team aiming at reaching the same admirable and important business goals. Whether that’s been to serve our young students optimally in the 2 private education companies I founded, or to make a great film in our media company. But sometimes it was too easy for our seemingly romantic missions to too easily attract the ‘wrong’ person for the job.
Several times I wound up with someone whose work ethic or even personality proved to be too disruptive to the good flow of the rest of our team. There were a handful of people that wound up being the cause of more problems for us than they actually helped us solve. Not good. And it was my responsibility to actually ensure I addressed THAT problem quickly, because as CEO it was ultimately my call who to let get on or off our business ‘bus’. Luckily, once I did take the difficult steps to reverse course on my hiring mistakes, my core team was strong enough that they had the patience and understanding to allow me to grow my way to becoming a better leader, and a better employer, as a result over time.
All of us who have the entrepreneurship bug dream of building not just a good company but a GREAT company. Maybe even one that will endure well past our own expiration date and live on as our legacy, impacting 1000s or more lives in the process. For every CEO who has this desire, I can’t recommend Jim Collins’ Good to Great book enough.
The concept of ‘Getting the Right People on the Bus’ is such a simple one, yet in this age of incredible technology and connectedness, it’s actually people skills that still reign supreme. They are all too often completely overlooked by startups to traditional businesses. ‘Business as usual’ is no longer good enough. PEOPLE ARE OUR BUSINESS. So much like your kindergarten teacher taught you so many years back, the Golden Rule is more important than ever: Treat people as you wish to be treated in order to have a good life (or great business). And having a team of people you WANT to see everyday and naturally find easy to work with because you’re a good fit– as opposed to people you think ‘tick a box’ to get a series of siloed tasks done– sets the stage for you to drive your business to becoming your greatest legacy.
If you haven’t had a chance to read the book, I challenge you to pick up a copy and schedule time to do it starting on Monday. If you drive to work, buy the audio version to listen to. Guaranteed this book will help transform you. It will inspire you to ask better questions of yourself each evening when you look at your list of important items to tackle the next day to move your business forward.
Here is a short excerpt on the concept Jim shares about ‘Getting the Right People on the Bus’.
“The executives who ignited the transformations from good to great did not first figure out where to drive the bus and then get people to take it there. No, they first got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it. They said, in essence, “Look, I don’t really know where we should take this bus. But I know this much: If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great.”
This notion and many, many others proved invaluable to me in being able to create not just a good business team, but the best franchise team in our international system for three years in a row and a top 4 business for 6 years running, before we sold it at the top of its game.
If you’d like help creating your BEST business version for you and your team and customers to enjoy everyday you work, get in contact. Leave a comment below or email me through our contact page and let me know what one change you think could be the difference to keeping your company good, and making it truly great.
Many business owners who we talk to have the challenge of handling burn out or overwhelm, both of which are a result of continuous firefighting and reacting to the day-to-day pressures of building and growing a business.
What many business owners require is a simple model to know when they are being effective versus just wasting precious time on the the trivial. Writing out daily ‘ToDo’ lists just does not cut it these days for them, no matter how many ‘ToDos’ they get through.
The time management matrix that Stephen Covey of Franklin Covey produced, taken from his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is a very direct and simple model. You as a business owner or CEO can get back precious time, control, and energy working within his model of focusing on your top priorities and what is actually important, as opposed to over-planning less important activities.
The image attached to this article spells it out well. We’ve taken it from Franklin Covey. Here is a
quick review of the 4 quadrants based on the percentage of time spent in them:
Quadrant 1 – where many business owners and managers spend most of their time. It’s both urgent AND important. It deals with significant results that require immediate attention. In many cases, it is “crisis” or “problem” centered. Too much time in this quadrant can end up consuming your time and energy, such as when you become a “deadline driven producer”. The more you live in this quadrant, the more you get consumed by it, until your energy gets swamped and you get burnt out, leading to suffering from low energy and even poor health. So the only way to get some relief once this happens is to move into Quadrant 4.
Quadrant 4 – the place where we tend to avoid responsibility and avoid important activities. If one stays in this quadrant for too long it leads to living an irresponsible life, no business momentum and hardly any real results. Yet it is a quadrant for many who feel overwhelmed and stressed out and it’s their ‘go to’ place to deal with the stresses of work and life.
Quadrant 3 – People who live in this quadrant for too long can be deluded into thinking they are actually in Quadrant 1. Here they spend most of their time reacting to things, getting distracted, and the urgency of their work is based on the expectations of others. People who stay in quadrant 3 or 4 for too long end up running ineffective lives and their business gets sabotaged. They experience low levels of energy, focus, and reduced motivation to get bigger results.
Quadrant 2 – Quadrant 2 is the heart of effective management. It deals with key business growth issues such as planning, getting clear on an overall mission, self-care, building relationships and systems for your business. It’s the quadrant where you move from being “problem-focused” to “opportunity-focused”.
Moving more into Quadrant 2 – To be an effective leader every effort has to be made to spend more time in Quadrant 2. The first step is to move out of Quadrants 3 and 4 as and when you can. This means taking a disciplined approach to set clear and firm boundaries with others and with yourself.
Learn to say “No” to most of what is happening in Quadrants 3 and 4. Delegate wherever you possibly can, so you can free up your energy and time on activities that fit within Quadrant 2. You ideally want to be able to say “Yes” to activities in Quadrant 2 because they are both Important and Not Urgent, allowing you to do your best STRATEGIC thinking and planning.
Ask and answer these Quadrant 2 Questions:
“What one thing could I do (that I am not doing now) that if I did on a regular basis would make a tremendous positive difference in my personal life?”
“What one thing in my business or professional life would bring similar results?”
Consider creating a weekly plan for your key goals and priorities, rather than just activities. Focus on taking action on these key goals and priorities. Book those priority and related tasks a week ahead in your agenda and do whatever it takes to make sure you take action on them! Review your weekly plan for a few minutes each day at the end of the day to ensure you are focused on those goals and key priorities for the next day.
This article touches the surface, but it’s a great start to getting focused and getting your control and energy back. Just being aware of the 4 Quadrant Model and which Quadrant you are spending time in helps you gain awareness of what will produce results and what will slow you down or stop you.
When you choose to boost your productivity and effectiveness levels even more, it pays to have an ongoing accountability partner so that you follow through on your vision, goals, and priorities.
Leave us a comment on this page to let us know what ONE thing you can concentrate on eliminating this week from Quadrants 1, 3 & 4 and how you will instead add time spent in Quadrant 2 to improve your energy, mood, and feeling effective. We’d love to hear your thoughts!
If you want to have even more energy and laser like focus when building your business, a book that we highly recommend is The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.
Usually in any given week, month or year there is an overarching One Thing that needs to be kept as a top priority. The One Thing I do today may be different from the One Thing I have to do in a month, and that may be different to the One Thing I can do right now.
When I read the book, I liked how the approach is so simple and cuts through the multi-tasking mindset we have been trained to believe is productive. Many times we feel obliged to act on other people’s agendas – to react, rather than respond. The multi-tasking mind becomes a ‘monkey mind’, over stimulated and hectic, and it’s too easy for us to end up as victims of such an overly busy mind and life – counterproductive if we want to make real strides forward.
You may be aware of the Pareto Principle that states 20% of your activities produce 80% of your results. The One Thing pares that down even further.
‘Of the 20% of my highly leveraged activities what is the One Thing that I can do that will make the biggest difference to my business? To my personal life outside of work?’
This book talks about scaling down your ‘ToDo’ list and instead creating a “Success list”, usually just 20% of the To Do List and then filtering out that One Thing you need to focus on today or this week or this month. So the ‘ToDo’ List could be 20 actions. The Success List will focus you on about 4 of those highly leveraged actions, and The One Thing is the Key action that will make the biggest difference to your day.
The book states “Thinking informs actions and actions determine outcomes” so it is important to think in the right way by asking resourceful questions.
Ask Big questions and you will get Big answers or ideas.“Dont fear Big, fear Mediocrity”. The book mentions how we over-plan and over-analyze when success is based on just a handful of things we need to do well.
The key question in the book goes something like this: “What’s the One Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or even unnecessary?” If you read the sentence it relates to what you “can do” and not relying or depending on someone else.
There are many variations of this same question but the authors propose asking yourself a version of this one question every day if you truly want success.
I hope you can see the power in asking such an excellent question of yourself.
A powerful reminder to stay focused could also be useful “Until my One Thing is done, everything else is a distraction”. This is a great reminder because for most of us we are distracted and go into reaction mode so quickly. The question helps to keep you on track on the important project or activity.
By asking your One Thing question, to add more power to the process, visualize the end result and simulate the steps along the way. Its a kind of mental flow charting of the process, which helps to get your thinking more focused and clear.
A very important consideration mentioned in the book is the importance of time blocking. In fact the authors suggest you “time block with a vengeance”. Meaning: do all you can to protect your time, no matter what.
And here at EnergizedCEOs.com we actively encourage you to not just time block your work time, but time block your time to re-charge. This is one of the number one ways CEOs and Leaders burn out and get ill by NOT doing so.
Check out our other article about time blocking time in the morning to take care of your body and mind using an acronym called the 4Fs. It’s a proven approach to gaining back more of your valuable energy.
And don’t stop there! Make it a daily practice (and eventually a habit!).
Time block your one important thing. Time block your thinking or planning time. Remember “until the One Thing is done everything else is a distraction”.
A good time block question is “What’s the One Thing I can do to protect my time blocks every day such that by doing so everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
Like all things, this type of thinking and approach requires mastery and practice. Doing this once a week may help you improve at work, however, to think and act this way on a daily basis by asking that One Thing question each day will lock into your nervous system a new way of being effective and more energized as a CEO.
As a coach to business owners I hold my clients accountable to the One Key Thing they commit to agree to do between sessions. Having accountability like this helps to boost this level of focus and productivity.
So I’d love to know, what is the ONE THING you need to get done: Today, This Week, This Month, This Quarter in order to do the ONE THING you really want to accomplish this year? Please tell us in the comments! Consider it your Day One for Accomplishing your One Thing!