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My Eye was on the Wrong Thing: A Leadership Tradecraft post

I feel conflicted about the past week. It feels as if I spent all week gazing at beautiful scenery through the window of a fast moving car and then crashed into the “Scenic Lookout Ahead” sign.

Most of my week’s reading time was devoted to Gary Keller’s book, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. The irony is that I became so consumed with a sermon that I neglected to practice the theme of the book. The result that the sermon was less than I wanted and I never met my blog writing priority.

But I know the theory!

What is the ONE Thing you can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?

When it came to the sermon, the one key question for me is: What is the Word that needs to be spoken to this particular group of people? Instead of sitting with that question long enough I became impatient and distracted/enticed/seduced into worrying about the rhetorical framework.

I wrote the sermon three times, each with a different framework but still neglected the one critical task. Sometimes I get so frustrated I’d storm out on myself if I knew how!

However, I did do some things right.

Keller joins Brendon Burchard and many others in advocating blocking time to work on the 20% of work that yields 80% of key results (the Pareto Principle). I have started to work in 50 minute segments and have found it has increased my productivity immensely although I am reminded of Peter Drucker’s quote: “Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.”

Which brings me back to The One Thing.

Keller’s contribution is the push to focus that 20% on one core thing. What is the ONE Thing you can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary? The question is transportable to almost every dimension of life. What is the one thing I could do this week that would improve my marriage? What is the one thing I could do this week that would strengthen my family? What is the one things I could do this week that would most improve my health and sense of well-being?

The question proves surprising difficult to answer but for those desiring excellence and effectiveness the discipline is worth the hard thinking.

4 Comments

  1. Love this quote:
    It feels as if I spent all week gazing at beautiful scenery through the window of a fast moving car and then crashed into the “Scenic Lookout Ahead” sign.

  2. Lots for me to consider in this post!

    I always like the idea of asking the question but realize that the answer might actually not be the “one thing” just what I thought was the “one thing” for whatever reason I thought it. Intentional but reversible, I need to remind myself often.

    Not sure about this part…” that by doing it [the one core thing ]everything else would be easier or unnecessary? ” Sometimes the core thing makes everything else harder (at least temporarily ) for me. Hence looking out the window or choosing some other activity to at least postpone this outcome of “harder”…

    Grateful for the opportunity to reflect.

    1. I’m totally on board with the “one thing” not making life easier. It is why when I have to write something fairly long and intensive I always manage to clean the house, organize my desk and take out the garbage – all in “preparation” for the one thing I really do need to do. 🙂

  3. This is a wonderful antidote to monkey brains.
    Just pick out” the one thing” and focus on it.
    Like you I can spend lots of time working in circles around the one thing without getting down to it.

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