These last few months - more than ever - have shone a fierce light on how much (and how often) the urgent gets in the way of the important.
It's so easy to get caught up in the 'merely' urgent, and forget what it means to do something that is truly meaningful - something that genuinely changes lives (yours, or others, or best still, both).
In today's video I share the single 'trick' (it isn't a trick, really, but the word will do) that enables me to focus on what's important, not what's 'merely' urgent.
P.S I had a bit of a 'blooper moment' toward the end... but it was funny, so I left it in - enjoy 🙂
Running Time: 12' 37"
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So if you're watching this live, you'll know that I'm recording
it somewhere in the middle of this coronavirus crisis that
we're navigating our way through - who knows where we are: in
the middle, end of the beginning, doesn't even feel like the
start of the ending - but we're somewhere in this journey and
it's, as you well know, been a really tough time for so many
people. In the world that I live in I've been spending a a
lot of time working with individuals and organizations that
have really really been hit badly by the economic impact
alone of the crisis, but one of the most amazing, gratifying...
I'm trying to use words and be sensitive and what I say,
but one of the most amazing things let's put it that way
that I've experienced over the last probably four to six
months sorry- weeks -
- are the number of folks that I've spoken to who
are really thriving at the moment. And it gets a little awkward,
and it gets close to making me feel a little queasy talking
about it- just to choose the right words.
So bear with me and show me Grace if I if I use the wrong
tone here, but there are a lot of people whose organizations
are thriving right now, and that comes down to a whole bunch
Mostly it's because they're great leaders, and in if you've
been listening to my podcast series, you'll have heard Jason
Mitchell just a few weeks ago - runs one of the largest churches
in the US and just they're just knocking it out of the park.
They've got their challenges.
They're having to grapple with all sorts of problems.
Which of your a church attender you'll know all about, but they're
overcoming them, making great progress.
You've heard from Julia Haqmm, who runs a not-for-profit organization
called SEPA and again, got 50 percent of their revenue stream
just got knocked off, but as an organization, they're buckling
down and dealing with that.
They're moving forward. Russ Fletcher -
just last week our most recent podcast - had his best day ever.
Now, this is a multi hundred million dollar
business, and they had their best day in April - it came with
its issues, which if you listened to the podcast you'll remember,
but still they are growing really fast.
You'll hear soon from Amanda Tress, who owns FASTER Way to Fat Loss Run Spot to way too
in Florida - a fast growing business
that's still growing really really fast.
Like I said, the majority of their success is down to the
fact that they are great leaders who built great teams around them,
but one of the things that's been very gratifying is hearing
them say over and over again that a large component
element - a large contributor to their success is that they
were installing Predictable Success.
They were using Predictable Success - are using Predictable Success
as a large element of their operating system as
organizations. And you know, that makes me feel good.
I'm normally quite self-deprecating and I struggle not to
sort of deflect things like that.
But I want to say it makes me really feel good.
What I don't feel so good about our the many many many discussions
probably for every person who have worked with in the last
number of years,
who have got to the point where Predictable Success has
really helped them through this difficult time,
there are 10 to 20 others who I talked with who wanted to
do this - wanted to spend time installing and using Predictable Success
but didn't get round to it at there were other things.
They were just too busy.
There were other things that were causing them to have to
invest their time and energy there rather than on installing
Predictable Success. Now this isn't just about this one issue
of installing Predictable Success.
What I want to talk about is one of the most important larger
issues we face as leaders all the time, and it's distinguishing
between the Urgent and the Important and getting both done.
Because they're both vital. We've got to do both now installing
Predictable Success and working taking the time to change your
culture, your systems your processes, to have Predictable Success
as your operating system is an Important thing to do but
it typically comes along at a time when there are way way
way many other urgent things that need to be done.
And what happened with those might have been clients in the
last number of years is that the sheer weight of this urgent
stuff overwhelmed their ability to turn to the important.
And it's that I want to spend a little bit of time and talk
about. And I want you to think about why this is important
- and you'll have heard me use this metaphor
before, and it's impactful to me and I hope it will be useful
I'm sitting looking at a beautiful ... more than a garden...
it's you know, a few acres outside here and there are a number
of just gorgeous trees.
I don't know.
I'm not a tree expert but the've got to be at least 40 years
old - massive big trees.
If you've seen some previous videos, you'll have sene me walking
out amongst them.
Now if you don't have one of those and you would love to have a 40 year
old tree, when was the best time to plant it? It was 40
years ago, right?
What's the second best time to plant it?
Now. There's, no better time than right now. But the tons of urgent stuff
to do - grass needs cut, weeds need pulled, and so we don't
get round to the important. 40 years later two years later three
It's not done.
So I want to show you.
What for me is the most
fundamental- call it a productivity tool if you want.
This is the one perception that enables me to get important
stuff done and which if you use it will enable you to do
truly life-changing things. Let me show it to you.
So here we are - now you'll see on this two by two and
many of you will have seen this before -
We're really breaking down everything that comes your way
every day. Down at the bottom left corner
there's the stuff that isn't urgent and it Isn't important.
Now more fool me more fool you,
If that's what we spend our time doing.
I will often set time aside just to do stuff that's
not urgent and not important because my brain needs a rest,
but if I allowed that stuff to distract me, I'm never going
to get anything done
that's either urgent or important. Up on the top right you'll
see the stuff that is both urgent and important.
What might an example be... lets say a client is having
an issue and they're our single largest client, and the issue
is big enough that we might lose them.
That's urgent and it's very important - massive client, big
issue. Let's go get it done.
If I'm not attending to those issues,
if you're not attending to this those issues, more fool me,
more fool you - we've got to do this.
Where the conflict comes is in
the other two quadrants.
It comes in the top left:
The stuff that's "merely" urgent.
It's urgent, but it's not important.
Maybe you got a little bit of a leak in your Warehouse.
Maybe one of your employees has got a gripe about something.
You've got to go see them. Maybe you've got it hiring issue.
You've got to overcome those things that are sort of urgent.
You got to attendto them, but they're not enormously important
in the long term. Down in the bottom right-hand corner,
you've got the stuff that's important.
but it's not urgent. The word won't
end if you don't do something about it today. It might be
installing Predictable Success as your operating system for
growth. It might be writing a book. For me, for years writing
a book was something that was really important to me, but
it wasn't urgent.
So I never got round to it.
You've got life-changing things for both you and your organization
that lie in that quadrant and the battle everyday is between
the top left and the bottom, right?
And the problem is this. Unless you do something about it,
the top left will always always win out.
So here's my productivity tip:
Address the top left the way you already do address them -
have been addressing them - which is on an output basis, or a
So you look at the leak you think okay,
I gotta attend to that until I've fixed the leak.
You've got a high-performing employee with an issue,
you say I'll go visit with them and I will spend some time
I'll fix the issue.
You've got a hiring issue got a complete, you say, OK,.
I'll spend a day or two and I'll do the interviews, we'll get
that done. You do it - you fix urgent stuff on output related metrics.
The difficulty comes when we try to apply that to the stuff
on the bottom right - the stuff that's important, but not urgent.
Let's say you want to write a book. You sit down and you think
Okay, first thing...
..I'm going to write chapter 1.
I'm going to write the synopsis, or I'm going to write the
book proposal and you sit down and you look at it, and it's
not good. So you put it on hour or so...
It's not good.
You set it up on the shelf.
You'll come back to it this afternoon....
But you never get back. You're thinking about installing Predictable
Success, so you come on our website, you look at what's there...
You download a few things... then the Urgent takes over.
Here's what I want to suggest.
This is the core of achieving important things.
Don't try to achieve them on an output basis.
Don't try to achieve them by setting a result.
Achieve them by setting aside time. Set aside time. Plan it
in advance - get it into your schedule make it non negotiable.
You want to write a book put one hour twice a day in your
diary - whatever you can afford once or twice a week, whatever
you can afford - but make it non negotiable.
You want to install Predictable Success? Put an hour a day every
morning in your diary. Make it non negotiable and just do
what you can do, in the hour. Sit down - you want to write
a book -sit down and( I've written seven books - four of them
have made my career,
so I know what all of I speak) - sit down, don't wait for the
muse to arrive - start writing whatever you come up with at the end of
the hour, stop. Go back and deal with the Urgent. At the start of the
next hour, just start -edit what you had before or start
writing. You get things done.
It's the old thing of how do you eat an elephant? One bite
at a time -
But that's the tip that I want to give to you, which is to keep
knocking down the Urgent on the basis of results and outputs -
metrics like that. For the important stuff set aside time.
Now as it happens, if one of the things that you do want to
do is to scale your organization, if you're thinking about putting
Predictable Success in place then ...ha ha ha!
Now as it happens if one of the things you want to do.
Is to use Predictable Success - use the methodology to scale
I can give you three candidates for your first block of time
next week as I'm recording this next Wednesday, Thursday Friday
at 11 a.m.
I'm teaching for 60 minutes than 30 minutes QA.
So 90 minutes Wednesday, Thursday Friday where I'm teaching
everything that's in Do Scale, my most recent book.
It doesn't cover everything the Predictable Success methodology
by any stretch of the imagination, but what it will give
you is everything you need to get your mindset right; to get
your roadmap designed; and to start putting the underlying
systems and processes in place to scale your organization.
So whether it's a for-profit, not-for-profit, whether you've
got a manufacturing or service business, or a cause or faith-based
organization, click the link below Go see of the workshop
is for you.
It's an online Zoom-based Workshop.
I hope to see you setting time aside to achieve the important.