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Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

  • July 12, 2020
  • minute read

How to do Stuff that Changes Lives 

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 🙂

How do you beat the 'urgent versus the important' battle? Let me know in the comments!

Running Time: 12' 37"

Is Learning to Scale one of your 'Important' Goals? - then CLICK HERE

Read / Download the Transcript

So if you're watching this live, you'll know that I'm recording

it somewhere in the middle of this coronavirus crisis

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

of stuff.

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

to you.

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

years later.

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

results basis.

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

with them.

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

your organization,

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.


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