Recently, I read a famous story told by James Clear:
“By 1918, Charles M. Schwab was one of the richest men in the world. Schwab was the president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the largest shipbuilder and the second-largest steel producer in America at the time.
The famous inventor Thomas Edison once referred to Schwab as the ‘master hustler.’ He was constantly seeking an edge over the competition.
One day in 1918, in his quest to increase the efficiency of his team and discover better ways to get things done, Schwab arranged a meeting with a highly-respected productivity consultant named Ivy Lee.
Lee was a successful businessman in his own right and is widely remembered as a pioneer in the field of public relations. As the story goes, Schwab brought Lee into his office and said, ‘Show me a way to get more things done.’
‘Give me 15 minutes with each of your executives,’ Lee replied.
‘How much will it cost me,’ Schwab asked.
‘Nothing,’ Lee said. ‘Unless it works. After three months, you can send me a check for whatever you feel it’s worth to you.’
During his 15 minutes with each executive, Lee explained his simple method for achieving peak productivity:
1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
2. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
5. Repeat this process every working day.
The strategy sounded simple, but Schwab and his executive team at Bethlehem Steel gave it a try. After three months, Schwab was so delighted with the progress his company had made that he call Lee into his office and wrote him a check for $25,000.
A $25,000 check written in 1918 is the equivalent of a $400,000 check in 2015.”
Over the last 100 years, our world has changed in every way imaginable, but this principle remains. Planning the next day in advance and working down your prioritized list with intention still yields tremendous results.
Make Personal Growth Your Priority
I’ve been writing about the ON/IN principle that encourages us to…
Work ON the business while we work IN the business.
– Bobby Albert
So, what is working ON, not just IN, the business? It involves a three-part strategy:
- Grow yourself
- Grow your people
- Grow your business
Do you want to reach your full potential? Are you tired of merely experiencing life and hoping your people will acquire personal growth along the way? If so, you must go out your way to seize personal growth opportunities as if your life and your people’s lives depended on it. And they do!
So how do you begin to “lift the lid” on your and your people’s personal growth potential?
The Priority Plan
I have learned that you need a plan to maximize your and your people’s personal growth.
As a start, commit that you will choose to put near the top of your daily task list to learn something new every day!
Do you have a short daily task list? Do you prioritize your list? Do you include personal growth on your daily list? Please share your comments <here>.