Issue No. 342 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting features 10 quotable quotes (all Twitter-worthy) from a hot contender already for my 2016 book-of-the-year. Gary Keller says that to focus on The ONE Thing, you must examine your to-do lists. He notes: "To-do lists inherently lack the intent of success." And this reminder: click here to check out my 20 management buckets (core competencies) and recent issues/book reviews on this page.
Never done this before! Right there—on page 117—was a stunner-of-a-statement that went immediately from the book to my brain, to my laptop, to my printer, and now it’s big and bold on my office door:
"Until my ONE Thing is done--
everything else is a distraction."
I’ve just read a powerful book, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan. This bestseller will certainly be on my Top-10 book list for 2016, and is already a contender for my 2016 book-of-the-year.
But first—an apology. The ONE Thing waited patiently on my overflowing “books-to-read” shelves for three years. Then recently, it popped back onto The Wall Street Journal business bestsellers list. (OK. OK. I’ll read it!) But I apologize because you (and I) could have been much more productive over these last three years. So sorry—but better late than never.
Gary Keller, chairman of the board and cofounder of Keller Williams Realty, Inc., the largest real estate company in the U.S., has seen his share of failures and successes—and that’s how he discovered The ONE Thing.
He writes, “Where I’d had huge success, I had narrowed my concentration to one thing, and where my success varied, my focus had too.” Here’s Keller’s big idea:
"What's the ONE Thing
you can do this week such that by doing it
everything else would be easier or unnecessary?"
Read his chapter titles and you’re hooked. The first section highlights six lies that mislead and derail us:
• Lie #1: Everything Matters Equally
• Lie #2: Multitasking
• Lie #3: A Disciplined Life
• Lie #4: Willpower Is Always on Will-Call
• Lie #5: A Balanced Life
• Lie #6: Big Is Bad
The second section addresses the focusing question, the success habit (66 days), and the path to great answers. The final section motivates with unusual clarity on the four thieves of productivity:
• Thief #1: Inability to Say “No”
• Thief #2: Fear of Chaos
• Thief #3: Poor Health Habits
• Thief #4: Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals
Well…I promised you 10 tweetable quotations. (I know—somewhat ironic that I have over 20 quotations in a book review about The ONE Thing.) On a short plane ride, I winnowed hundreds of PowerPoint-worthy insights down to just 35—just before I landed. I’ve given you three already—and here are 20 more (but who’s counting?). Tweet your 10 favorite!
On rabbits, to-do lists, and irrelevancy:
• "If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one." (Russian proverb)
• "Instead of a to-do list, you need a success list—a list that is purposefully created around extraordinary results."
• "...it turns out that high multitaskers are suckers for irrelevancy."
On a “balanced life” and productivity:
• "A 'balanced life' is a myth—a misleading concept most accept as a worthy and attainable goal without ever stopping to truly consider it."
• "'Don't put all your eggs in one basket is all wrong.' I tell you ‘put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket.'" (Dale Carnegie)
• "Productivity isn’t about being a workhorse, keeping busy or burning the midnight oil. ... It's more about priorities, planning, and fiercely protecting your time." (Margarita Tartakovsky)
On goal-setting, accountability, and coaching:
• "Accountable people receive results only others dream of."
• "When Arthur Guinness set up his first brewery, he signed a 9,000-year lease."
• "Earlier I discussed Dr. Gail Matthew's research that individuals with written goals were 39.5 percent more likely to succeed. But there's more to the story. Individuals who wrote their goals and sent progress reports to friends were 76.7 percent more likely to achieve them."
• “Ericsson’s research on expert performance confirms the same relationship between elite performance and coaching. He observed that ‘the single most important difference between these amateurs and the three groups of elite performers is that the future elite performers seek out teachers and coaches and engage in supervised training, whereas the amateurs rarely engage in similar types of practice.’”
On saying no:
• “Someone once told me that one ‘yes’ must be defended over time by 1,000 no’s.”
• In the two years after Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, “he took the company from 350 products to ten. That’s 340 no’s, not counting anything else proposed during that period.”
On time-blocking and buckets to focus on The ONE Thing:
• "Build a bunker. Turn off your phone, shut down your email, and exit your Internet browser. Your most important work deserves 100 percent of your attention."
• "My recommendation is to block four hours a day. This isn't a typo. I repeat: four hours a day. Honestly, that’s the minimum. If you can do more, then do it."
• "If your time-blocking were on trial, would your calendar contain enough evidence to convict you?"
• "The people who achieve extraordinary results don't achieve them by working more hours. They achieve them by getting more done in the hours they work."
• "Paul Graham's 2009 essay, 'Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule,' underscores the need for large time blocks."
• "Graham divides all work into two buckets: maker (do or create) and manager (oversee or direct)."
• "To experience extraordinary results, be a maker in the morning and a manager in the afternoon. Your goal is 'ONE and done.’ But if you don't block each day to do your ONE Thing, your ONE Thing won't become a done thing."
"One of the reasons I've amassed a large library of books over the years is because books are a great go-to resource. Short of having a conversation with someone who has accomplished what you hope to achieve, in my experience books and published works offer the most in terms of documented research and role models for success."
Keller: “After my wife, Mary, read this book, I asked her to do something. She turned to me and you know what she said? ‘Gary, that’s not my ONE Thing right now!’ We laughed, high-fived, and I got to do it myself!”
Ready, set, TWEET!
To order from Amazon, click on the graphic for The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) According to Keller, "Time blocking works on the premise that a calendar records appointments but doesn't care who those appointments are with. So, when you know your ONE Thing, make an appointment with yourself to tackle it." Who controls your calendar?
2) "When you're in search of extraordinary results,” says Keller, “accepting an OK Plateau or any other ceiling of achievement isn't okay when it applies to your ONE Thing." What would extraordinary results for your ONE Thing look like? Just OK or maybe 10 percent growth? Double? Triple? What?
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Gary Keller would appreciate Balancing Life’s Demands: A New Perspective on Priorities, by J. Grant Howard. It’s on my Top-100 All Time Book List. (Read The Book Bucket, Chapter 5, in Mastering the Management Buckets for more on creating your own Top-10 and Top-100 list.)
Most books, and far too many preachers, will give you this dribble about balancing priorities: God is first, family is second, church is third, and your career is fourth.
J. Grant Howard writes that a list of sequential priorities makes absolutely no sense. “It can’t be intelligently explained. It can’t be easily understood. It can’t be logically lived out.” He adds, “I am convinced that the existing sequential model is not only impractical it is unbiblical.” Click here to read my review.
For more resources and my book-of-the-year picks in recent years (and 3 book lists) visit the Book Bucket webpage.
P.S. For more resources for your church or nonprofit ministry, visit the blog I write for ECFA on board governance, and my recent post, "Yikes! Motivation Doesn't Last!"
Your Weekly Staff Meeting is emailed free two to four times a month to subscribers, the frequency of which is based on an algorithm of book length, frequent flyer miles, and client deadlines. We do not accept any form of compensation from authors or publishers for book reviews. As a board member and raving fan of Christian Community Credit Union (a non-profit), we proudly list the credit union as a sponsor at no charge.