The evidence is clear – the most successful leaders have a laser-like focus on a few major goals and resist the tendency to have many goals they are trying to advance.  As Jim Collins has said, “Good is the enemy of great” meaning that as talented leaders, we can do a number of things at the “good” level of performance, yet we can do fewer things at the “great” level of performance simply because we can have greater bandwidth and creative thinking on a few things.

Over the past few months, I have been working with a SVP and Chief Marketing Officer who had as one of his “few” goals the building of a highly functional and cohesive leadership team under him so that he could really spend a great deal of his time on developing long term strategic initiative to move his billion dollar company to the next level. While he has focused intently on this goal, he is now to the point of have full confidence in the team he has assembled and is delegating assignments as well as decision making authority to them on projects and initiatives that he would have kept himself.  He is enjoying the new found time he has to focus on longer term strategic initiatives.  An additional by-product of this is enjoying having more time to spend with his growing family.

When we attempt to work on many priorities, we can only give some of our best to each one.  It has been said that if you have many priorities, you really have none.  Darren Hardy, the Publisher of Success magazine, talks about have three “banner” goals at a time, and no more than three. Giving yourself time to intentionally focus on moving those three along each day or week will enable to you have greater impact as a leader.

What will make this productivity tip work best is to set up a weekly review of how you did in moving the banner three along.  When you miss some milestones or are otherwise disappointed in your performance, don’t beat yourself up; rather learn what prevented you from devoting the needed time and make some corrections in your behaviors or habits.

Immediate Actions:

  1. Take stock of all your priorities or goals and identify the top three banner goals.  This may not be easy, yet it is essential.
  2. Plan the best part of your day to work 1-2 hours on moving the goals along.  Small progress compounded over time will yield predictable and impactful results.
  3. Allow for time at the end of the week to review your progress making adjustments as needed and celebrating your wins.

Question: What are you doing to limit your focus to fewer priorities?  You can leave a comment here.