Episode 10: Sharpening Your Focus, with Brett Gilliland

Brett Gilliland is Founder and CEO of Elite Entrepreneurs, a company that specializes in giving $1M+ business owners the knowledge, processes, and tools to grow to $10M and beyond. Brett is an expert in organization development, leadership, and strategy and spent 10 years helping Infusionsoft grow from $7M in revenue to over $100M. Brett was involved in the foundational work of Purpose, Values, and Mission at Infusionsoft and facilitated the strategic planning process for many years.

One of Brett’s favorite professional accomplishments is co-creating Infusionsoft’s Elite Forum along with Clate Mask and building the Elite business inside of Infusionsoft. As the leader of the Elite business, Brett has helped hundreds of struggling seven-figure business owners overcome their biggest challenges and achieve new levels of success. He also played a central role in the development of Infusionsoft’s Leadership Model and was serving as the VP of Leadership Development when the decision was made to spin the Elite business out of Infusionsoft. As the new owner of Elite Entrepreneurs, Brett can’t think of anything else he’d rather be doing professionally. When Brett isn’t busy helping $1M+ businesses succeed, he is a family man who enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, Sharon, and their 8 children.

What the podcast will teach you:

  • Why the planning process often causes business owners to feel “frazzled”, causes them to “shoot from the hip”, makes them feel like the “blind leading the blind” or that they’re “winging it” or “hanging on by a thread”
  • Why you should read Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, and what insights the book offers
  • How Greg McKeown defines an “essentialist” versus a “non-essentialist”, and why the difference matters
  • Why many business owners who have hit $1 million in revenue and reached new growth challenges struggle to focus more on the strategic progress side of their business and focus too heavily on the operational excellence side
  • Why focusing on too many tasks and goals at once can divide your resources too thinly, while focusing on the essentials can allow you to achieve more with your resources
  • How to determine whether the goals and tasks you think are a priority for yourself really are, and how breaking your time habits can help further your goals
  • How to avoid disconnects between what you say are priorities for your business and where you invest your money
  • Why it is important to surround yourself with the right people on your team who share your focus and priorities
  • Why now is the time to begin planning for 2020, starting with a strategy session with key members of your team
  • Why clarity and intentionality are the keys to leading your team and managing your business effectively




This episode is going to be a solo cast. I had an event for our Elite Momentum customers. I put together some content that all of you will benefit from, so I’m going to take you through that content. It’s about planning or preparing for the work that you will do to put together your own goals personally, but then also leading your team through a planning process to get everybody clear and focused on the things that will move your business forward in the coming year, quarter, or whatever period you’re thinking about.

I’m going to call this the Sharpening Your Focus episode. It’s an essentialist approach. If you’re not familiar with that term, I’ll introduce it to you briefly. This is getting yourself ready to go and leading yourself to have an amazing next year. More importantly, in the context of our show, it is how you get yourself ready to go lead others in a planning process that will bring that clarity and focus for the team to have an outstanding year performance.

Picture In Your Mind

I had some fun with this content. I put together some images and played a little game called Figure Out What the Google Search Was on What Word or Phrase Did I Search For. I have a fun picture of a crayon drawing where there are several colors used. It looks like a kindergartner or maybe a 1st or 2nd grader drew this picture. You can imagine a crudely drawn picture with crayons of multiple colors. That is the face. For the hair, there are a bunch of scraggly lines of different colors going all different directions. It’s sticking out in all directions. The eyes look worried, maybe sleep deprived. You have this wrinkly mouth. This is an image of being frazzled.

The next picture that I shared with people is of a person dressed up as a cowboy. They’re facing a target. They’ve pulled the revolver from their holster and they’re shooting from the hip. You can see some smoke coming out of the barrel of the gun. This was my shooting from the hip picture. The next picture is very interesting in the context of our conversation. There are three blindfolded people in a row. There is a leader out in front feeling his way. There are two people behind with each person putting their hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them. They’re all blindfolded. They’re all unsure about trying to move forward. This was my blind leading the blind picture.

I’ve only got two more, so keep doing this imagery thing in your head. The other one that I have is the wing of an airplane and a person hanging off of that wing. That person is flying through the air and hanging onto the wing with one hand. It’s a photoshopped type of image. The phrase that I searched here was winging it. My last image for you shows two hands gripping the end of a rope. About a foot above the hands, you see the rope coming apart. In fact, it’s almost completely broken. There’s only one strand left. This was my hanging by a thread image.

Frazzled, shoot from the hip, blind leading the blind, winging it, and hanging on by a thread, those were the pictures that I shared and the phrases and words that went with them. I want you to assess yourself as you’re reading. If you’re going into a planning process or should be thinking about going into a planning process, you might be experiencing some of these things in your daily life as a business owner. We all know how hectic it can be. We got day-to-day operations swirling about us. If we have any thoughts on the future longer-term, we have important questions we want to work through with ourselves or with our team to get more clarity about how to move forward. You need to get away from it all, sharpen your focus, and get clear.

EEP 10 | Sharpening Focus

Sharpening Focus: The behavior that characterizes an essentialist is their disciplined pursuit of less. For a non-essentialist, it’s the undisciplined pursuit of more.



I went to a conference several years ago. My favorite quote from that event was, “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” I found that to be super interesting. I went on 2 to 3 days of this conference. I heard lots of speakers, but that is the one that resonated with me the most. I’m inviting you to step into that space with me. The person that said that his name is Greg McKeown.

I’m going to tell you a little bit more about Greg McKeown. Greg McKeown is a New York Times bestselling author. His book is called Essentialism. I highly recommend it. The subtitle on it is The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. As I talk to you about sharpening your focus, I’m going to lean on the ideas that I’ve learned from not only listening to Greg speak in person, which I highly recommend if you ever get that opportunity but also from his book.

I’m not going to regurgitate all of his content. That’s not what I’m going to do. We’re going to organize some of our conversations with this essentialism concept at the forefront. You should check out Greg’s content. It’s amazing. His website is GregMcKeown.com. The book is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.

What I want to paint for you is a picture of the chaos that we experience every single day in business and what Greg would say in our personal lives when we are not being essentialists. He makes this compare and contrast between a nonessentialist and an essentialist. I’ll give you a couple of ideas from him. These are not mine. These are from Greg.

First of all, a nonessentialist thinks all things to all people. Some of the languages for that person are, “I have to. It’s all important. How can I fit it all in?” Those are the types of thoughts in a nonessentialist. On the other side, the essentialist is thinking less but better. You might hear words or phrases like, “I choose to. Only a few things matter. What are the trade-offs?” Those are the differences there about what an essentialist thinks versus a nonessentialist.

Let’s look at what an essentialist does versus a nonessential list. For an essentialist, what characterizes their behavior is the disciplined pursuit of less. That was the subtitle of Greg’s book. Think about pauses to discern what matters. They say no to everything, except the essential. They remove obstacles to make execution easy. These are some of the behavioral traits of an essentialist.

If you don't prioritize your life, someone else will. Click To Tweet

For the nonessentialist, the description for this bucket of what they do is the undisciplined pursuit of more. They’re always trying to fit in more. Some of the descriptors might be that they react to what’s most pressing, says yes to people without thinking, and tries to force execution at the last moment. We’re going to get it all in. This is all straight from Greg’s book and content. I’m only going to share one more thing of his and then we’ll move on to how you can prepare for your planning.

The last part of the essentialist versus nonessentialist compare and contrast is what the essentialist gets. What is the outcome at the end of the day? The essentialist lives a life that matters. They choose carefully in order to do great work. They feel in control. They get the right things done. They experienced joy in the journey. The nonessentialist on the other hand lives a life that does not satisfy.

That’s a powerful description from Greg. They take on too much and work suffers. They feel out of control. They’re unsure whether the right things get done. They feel overwhelmed and exhausted. That’s my essentialism recap. There’s way more than that in the book. Greg is a fantastic speaker. He is trying to help all of us to take the chaotic lives that we have and boil them down to what matters most. How do I get that?

Let me have you take a step back, conceptually with me, and think about your business. In this episode, we’re going to talk about things in your personal life and in your business life. This is a business show. This is about you being an elite entrepreneur trying to scale your business. I’m going to lean more heavily on the business side, but everything we talk about applies to your personal life. In fact, if you’re not figuring this out for yourself personally, you will not be able to lead your company powerfully. If you don’t get your personal effectiveness act together, there’s no way you can competently lead others to move your company where you want to go. I wish that weren’t the truth, but it’s the harsh reality. We have to be a master of ourselves before we can help others rise to new levels of greatness.

The Two Sides Of Your Objective

Picture in your mind two sides of the same leadership coin. I sometimes use an Everest analogy where you’re trying to get to the top of Everest. That is the mission of the team. In fact, let’s stick with the Everest analogy instead of the coin one, but you could go with the coin if you’re curious why I went that way. On one side of the mountain or the coin will be the operational excellence side.

That’s where you expect excellence. That’s where you have financial goals, operating imperatives, and things that must happen in order for the lights to stay on in the business. They’re the leads that come in, the sales that have to happen, the fulfillment, or the product launch deadlines. Those are all the things that make your business go. We’re going to call that the operational excellence side of the mountain or the coin.

EEP 10 | Sharpening Focus

Sharpening Focus: It’s ideal to have about 80% of your time focused on all of the operational sides of the business. Then you want about 20% of your energy focused on the strategic progress side.


On the other side of the mountain, we’re going to call it the strategic progress side of things. If you’re like most entrepreneurs that get to seven figures, they start to hit some scaling challenges after they hit that first million in revenue. Most of their life and their businesses are spent on that operational excellence side of things. They have almost zero thought or zero cycles spent on the strategic progress side of the mountain.

Separate some thinking here between the day-to-day running of the business, the longer-term planning, and the capability of building to enable a future. That’s the strategic progress side. It is fun to talk conceptually because we can think about anything. In an ideal world, if I could encourage you to create the perfect mix between how you spend your time collectively in your business on those two sides of the objective, the Everest mountain or the big thing that we’re trying to accomplish, we’ll achieve it and then we’ll go onto the next thing.

The ideal mix would be about 80% of your time, energy, focus, management, and attention are all on the operational side of the business. About 20% of the time, energy, management, focus, and attention are on the strategic progress side. You’ll also notice strategic progress implies not always achieving perfection, whereas, in operational excellence, we’re looking for 100% when on goal attainment.

Strategic progress might be a little messier, but we’re moving forward in a more strategic capacity. We’re building strengths. We’re building new capabilities to go achieve something greater than we can. On the operational side, we’re just trying to get everything done. We’re trying to keep the lights on. We’re trying to hit the goals. We’re trying to make sure that we’re going to be able to fund payroll. Those are the two sides of this metaphorical Everest we’re working with here. If you would like the coin analogy, stick with that.

As a leader, you have to be thinking about, “How do I move forward on both of those fronts?” Unfortunately, on the operational excellence side of the mountain, you have this jumble of activity and forces pulling at you from every side or every direction. Another great book that I’ll drop is The 4 Disciplines of Execution. It is a Franklin Covey work. It is sometimes referred to as 4DX in short. The book’s great, but I especially love their description of the day-to-day life in business, especially for you as the entrepreneur and certainly for your teams as well. They call it the whirlwind.

The whirlwind is raging. You’ve got your inbox going. You’ve got your phone going. You’ve got customers calling in. You’ve got team member issues to deal with. There are always things pulling at your attention, and that’s to get the work done that needs to happen. We’re very reactionary in that mode. The whirlwind is swirling. We get pulled in every direction, and we can’t get focused on the things that matter.

If you don't get your personal effectiveness act together, you can't lead others to move your company where you want to go. Click To Tweet

Not only do we struggle in the operational excellence side of things for lack of focus, but all of the attention-grabbing that happens on the operational side of the business keeps us from spending any time or energy on the strategic progress side of the business. That is why most businesses get stuck somewhere between $1 million and $3 million in revenue. When they hit that point, they can’t move forward. The business has grown to a level where the whirlwind is raging and the business owner has a hard time figuring out, “How do I get clarity? How do I align a team to move forward?”

What I want you to notice is that your opportunity as a leader is to cut through all the noise. You pull people out of the whirlwind, starting with yourself and you get clear about the essential things that must happen. We’ll use Greg’s language here throughout, but the essential things that must happen to move the operational side of the business forward. When you get clear on the essential, by default, you’re getting clear on the nonessential or you’re cutting out the noise of the nonessential.

On the operational side, we got to get clarity. On the strategic progress side of your business, you can get clear about what specific things must move forward this quarter, or if you want to break it down, even more, this month, to move our strategic progress in the business forward. We have to get clear on both the operational side and the strategic side.

If I could show you one last image from Greg McKeown’s work, he has this wonderful image. It’s got a circle with the word resources in it and then it has a bunch of tiny little arrows in every direction coming off the circle. It’s almost like a little sun, but with arrows coming off of the little dashes the way a child might draw a sun. Right in the middle, it says resources.

When we try to accomplish too many things at the same time, our resources are limited in many directions. The contrasting picture that he puts next to that one is the resources circle, but with only one arrow. It’s significantly longer. It’s as if every little small arrow on the other picture were added together in one straight line with one arrowhead. We have more wood behind the arrow concept when we get essentialist in our focus.

Doing What Really Matters To You

First, I want you to have this realization. I’m going to make a bold claim here. I wish you and I were sitting across the table from one another or side-by-side at a coffee shop where we could talk. I would look at you square in the eyes and say, “Some of the things you say are important to you aren’t important to you.” You would say, “What are you talking about?” In other words, I would make the claim that some things you say are important, but you don’t mean it. You might say, “I mean it. Those things are important to me.”

EEP 10 | Sharpening Focus

Sharpening Focus: Your calendar can show you where the points of disconnect are between what you say is important and what you actually do. Your calendar should be designed to deliver the things you say are important.


I would have a little fun, not at your expense, but to help you see something more clearly that I hope would help you do the things you say are important going forward. I’m going to give you three ways to sharpen your focus on what matters to you. The way I’m going to do it is by giving you three areas where you can find clues that what you say is important to you isn’t as important as you say it is.

Look At Your Calendar

The first hint or clue is looking at your calendar. You need to inventory how you spend your time. In other words, if you say, “Exercise is super important to me,” but your calendar says otherwise and you never spend the time on it that you say you want to spend, then that’s not an essential priority in your life. If it is, you’re kidding yourself around that. Your calendar can scream at you where the points of disconnect are between what you say is important and what you do.

We’re going to look at the calendar first. This applies to your personal life and your business life. I gave a personal example around fitness. If I say, “I want to be fit,” then I’m going to spend time in activities that look like a priority to me. If I say, “I want to be fit,” but my TV watching to exercise ratio is out of whack, then that’s no good. You might say, “I watch TV while I exercise,” that’s fine, but at a minimum, it should be 1:1. Many of us say we want something and do something else. That’s a personal example.

For your work example, let’s say in your values or in the mission you’re up, there is some language about innovation. If in the calendar, there’s zero time spent on innovation, you’re not going to get much innovation. If your team is constantly working in the whirlwind to deliver the demands of the business and there’s no space for creativity, there will be no innovation.

That’s where looking at your calendar is a huge indicator of how much life is matching what you say is important to you. When you get this right, your calendar will be designed to deliver the things you say are important. That’s one of those masters of the obvious moments. Think about that. You are the owner of your calendar. If the calendar isn’t matching what you say is important in your life or in your business, then you must design a different calendar.

I’ve seen this play out powerfully as I got a chance to work closely with the CEO of Infusionsoft. His name is Clate Mask. Now, the company is called Keap. They rebranded from Infusionsoft to Keap. Some of you know that story. Some of you don’t. After spending ten years helping Clate grow that from seven figures up to $100 million, I watched how his time commitments changed over the course of those years. Every year, he, his executive assistant, and I, the three of us together would talk about ways that his time spent would change to reflect the priorities that he had as the leader of the business.

Some of the things you say that are really important to you aren't really important to you. Click To Tweet

Don’t get into habits where you’re like, “This is the way we’ve always done it. You’re getting the results of the way you’re doing things. If you want better results, we know we have to change something. The way that you use your time and the way that you structure your calendar can have a lot of impact on how you make progress towards the things you say you want. Hopefully, I didn’t belabor that point too much.

There is one more thing I’ll say about that. Your personal calendar as the leader matters a bunch in what happens in the business. I’m going to share another thought with you. If you don’t have a meeting rhythm that supports the company’s priorities, and I don’t mean just you personally but the company as a whole, you’re not going to get what you say you want. Your weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual planning and execution cadence has to align with what you say matters in the business.

If you don’t have innovation reviews where you bring new ideas to the leadership team and talk about how they might serve the business or you don’t have that built into your meeting rhythm, it is likely to not happen even if you say it’s important to you. You’re sharpening your focus as you go into a planning cycle. That’s the whole purpose of this episode. I taught you how the calendar is one of the biggest indicators of the disconnect between what you say is important and what is actually important to you in the way that you spend your time. That applies to your personal life as well as your business life.

Follow The Money

The second area where you can find clues that what you say is important isn’t as important as you say it is in the money. I call this follow the money. Let’s use our fitness exercise again. If you say fitness is important to you but the money spent on groceries is for chips, sodas, and candies, the spending doesn’t match what you say is a priority.

Similarly, if you don’t spend money on the things that will enable you to get what you say is important to you, then you’re being out of integrity with yourself to say that fitness is important to you but you’re not investing a dime on that. You’re investing in things that go contrary to that with your daily soda pop or all of your favorite Starbucks drinks. I’m not throwing darts at anybody. We all have things that we like that give us comfort and energy. I’m just teaching a principle that if you follow the money, where the money goes is what you care about even if you say you care about something else.

I found this cool concept. I found a way that somebody said what I tried to share with you in a unique way. I wish I knew the person’s name, but I’ll credit it as CEO 911. This is from Slideshare.net/ CEO911/The-Real-Definition-Of-Strategy. It is a two-slide share. The first slide said, “I had been a CEO more than ten years when I finally learned this simple, compelling definition of strategy.” For purposes of our episode, we’ll say, “This simple, compelling definition of priorities or what matters to me.”

EEP 10 | Sharpening Focus

Sharpening Focus: Thoroughbreds don’t run with donkeys. When you assemble your team, you want high performers. You want people who are going to run with other thoroughbreds.


The next slide says, “Strategy: it’s not what your mission, vision, strategic plan, or operating plan says. It’s where your company spends and invests its money. Scratch out the word expenses everywhere. It appears in your financial statements. Replace it with strategic investments. Look hard at every line and every penny underneath because those line items are the reality of your strategy.” I said a bunch, but it’s a powerful way of describing what I was saying by following the money.

Every single penny spent in your business is a reflection of your actual strategy, not a reflection necessarily of your stated strategy. Your actual strategy is wherever you’re spending money. We can say innovation is a priority to us, but if we don’t spend any money on innovation, we don’t have people dedicated to innovation, time, and people’s day for that. In other words, that’s payroll.

If the enablers of innovation aren’t showing up in our expense line, then we’re not investing in the things we say are strategic. I wish we could have a conversation one-on-one around this. You need to look at, “Where is the money going in my business?” Write the strategy that reflects that spend because that’s your real strategy. If you say you have one strategy but you’re spending another way, stop fooling yourselves. I want you to know going into planning for next year, next quarter, or whatever period of time you like to plan to look at how money is being spent and decide, “Does it match where I say I want to go?”

We’ve talked about your calendar and how there are tons of clues there about any disconnect between what you say is important and what is actually important to you. We’ve also talked about following the money. If the money says X, Y, and Z are important to you and you’re going around telling your team A, B, and C are important, at best, they’re confused. They’re probably getting a little skeptical of the things that you’re saying. They’re saying, “They say they want to do these top priorities in the business, but all the spending tells a different story. I can’t buy into what the leader is saying because the actions and the spending do not match the words.”

Surround Yourself With The Right People

We’ve talked about your calendar and money and telling the truth about what matters to you. The third area of clue or hint is to notice who you’re surrounding yourself with. I’ve been using this fitness exercise from the get-go. If you say, “Fitness is important to me,“ but you hang out with people who have zero interest in fitness or spend all of your free time doing things with friends that aren’t fit, then you’re kidding yourself again.

I didn’t go pull up an exact quote, but we’ve all heard, “You’re only as successful as the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You shape yourself to your closest circle of friends.” Any of you who are parents, especially of teenagers, know this principle. We know when our child leaves the house for the evening that if they’re surrounded by “good kids,” they’re less likely to get in trouble. They’re more likely to be doing things that you’re okay with. If they go out with people who aren’t the good kids, the troublemakers, or hooligans, they’re out with people who might be engaged in activities that your child would never do if they weren’t around with them. That freaks you out as a parent.

Wherever your money goes is what you actually care about even if you say you care about something else. Click To Tweet

As a parent of teenagers myself, I know clearly the type of people that I want my kid to hang around because my kid is more likely to do and become whatever that group of kids are doing and becoming. While we see it clearly in teenagers, we don’t necessarily see it as clearly in our adult lives. If family members don’t match your priorities, personal goals, and aspirations, I’m not saying to hit the eject button on your family members. What I am saying is if your natural group of people around you, like your family, is not helping you get where you want to go, you have to spend at least enough time with those other people outside of family time so that you can get where you want to go.

We all know this intuitively as well when we were growing our business. What’s one of the biggest pieces of advice we always get as we’re growing a business? It’s to, “Go find a mentor or mentors. Assemble your own board of advisors. Get people who have been there, done that, and can help you.” We know the concept, but most of us don’t follow through on it.

One of the other people that I greatly respect is Dave Ramsey. Most of you will be familiar with him He has this concept, “Thoroughbreds don’t run with donkeys.” The guy is the one-liner king. It’s a true principle. When you go to assemble your team, you want high performers. You don’t want B players. You want people who are going to run with other thoroughbreds and enjoy running with other thoroughbreds. You don’t want to have the donkeys as Dave Ramsey calls it. Who are you bringing into your team?

This principle applies in your personal life, but for this episode’s purposes, we’re focused on the team concept. You’re going into a planning process. I want to help sharpen your focus on what will move you forward in the coming year or the coming quarter. What will move you forward is the right people. It’s spending your time the way that you need to spend it, spending your resources your dollars the way that they need to be spent, and making sure that the right group of people is involved and the wrong group of people is not. We have to remove some people sometimes, which is what most of us don’t want to do.

In our Elite content, we talk about this in terms of hiring, leading, and firing to the vision. As the leader, you need to make sure that you’re constantly hiring, leading, and firing to the vision. If you’re not, chances are, you’re getting donkeys among your thoroughbreds or culture misfits. Even if they’re all thoroughbreds, somebody can be the wild Mustang that never gets tamed and wreaks a bunch of havoc in your team or culture. You’ve got to hire, lead, and fire to the vision if you want to live true to what you say is important.

There is one last point I want to make on who you surround yourself with. All of this stuff overlaps a little bit, which is time, money, and people. You spend money on the same things you’re spending time on. You are spending money on the people that you surround yourself with in the team. I get that but think about them individually. It will help you assess more accurately where you are maybe having less than ideal results.

EEP 10 | Sharpening Focus

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit Of Less

The last thing I want to say about people is that your organization structure can give you a hint on whether or not you’re investing in the right type of people. Let’s assume you have all thoroughbreds and they’re all culture fits. That’s fantastic. Back to our innovation example, you say that innovation is a priority in your company. We need to have the right amount of organizational structure dedicated to product or service innovations. Whatever the thing is that you do and sell to customers, you need to have people on that that are focused on innovating.

If your org chart shows a ton of marketing, a ton of sales, and maybe some back office functions but you don’t have some product development or service development muscle on the organization structure, then you’re kidding yourselves by saying that you care about innovation. I hope that gives you several new ways of framing, “Are the things that I say important to me really important to me?” If they aren’t, it’s time to make some changes.


Back to Greg’s quote, “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will,” I would love for you to have 10 to 15 minutes to reflect on that. What would you say to yourself or others is essential to you? What matters more than everything else in your personal life and in your business? If it’s not clear to you, you need to get clear on that. Otherwise, you’re not living in a focused way.

You’re not living in what Greg would say is an essentialist approach. You’re letting the whirlwind drag you around. At some point, it’ll spit you out and you hope that it will land you where you want to land. That’s leaving too much to chance. It’s your opportunity to use the time that you have, which is why you’re going to go into a planning session. You’re in the near future with the right members of your team to chart the course for the upcoming year. You have to be clear as a leader before you can go and lead others. You cannot go into that as blind leading the blind, frazzled, hanging on by a thread, shooting from the hip, or any of those images that I conjured up at the beginning.

You can’t lead effectively if you’re going in like that. You’ve got to get your own self in a good place so you can move forward. What’s important to you in your life and in your business? Pick the most important to get started with this. I’m going to change Greg’s quote slightly to say, “If you don’t prioritize their work life, someone else will.” I’m speaking about this idea as a leader. They don’t have all of this clarity. If they do have it for their personal life, that’s awesome. They’re the type of people that you want to have around because they know exactly what matters to them. They’re investing in that in the ways that matter to them.

In your business, they’re reliant on you, unfortunately. For good or bad, you are the leader, so you have to help them get clarity. You have to help prioritize their work life or someone else will, or it will happen by default. That whirlwind will rage on. Your people will do their best to keep up, but you’ll never get out of spinning your wheels on the day-to-day.

EEP 10 | Sharpening Focus

The 4 Disciplines Of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals

Let’s go back to our Everest analogy. On the operational excellence side of things, every single person in your company needs to know exactly the three things they are responsible for delivering week in and week out. I call it the big three. They should know exactly how those things are going to be measured and how they align with company goals.

When you give that kind of clarity, you’re saying, “Cut out all the noise in your day-to-day and focus on these three things. Above all else, these are the most important.” On the strategic side of the mountain, there’s a similar opportunity. You can help them get super clear on what’s important so that you can be making progress towards the future while delivering the results.

I’m going to invite you to hold a personal offsite for yourself every single quarter to get clear on two things. What is the priority for me for the next 90 days? Think about that as one personal and one professional. When you get that done, you’d be like, “I’m more able to go and lead my team effectively.” You have to think about, “What do I have to trade off to be able to achieve that? How will my calendar look different?” That’s back to the time use.

You’re like, “How will my spending need to change?” That’s back to following the money. You’re also like, “Who will I surround myself with?” When you get those three things dialed in, which are your time, money, and the people involved, exponentially, you are more likely to move towards the things that you say matter most in your personal life and in your business. I hope that’s giving you some clarity.

In fact, when I delivered this at my event, I bought a bunch of colorful plastic glasses and punched the lenses out of them. They were clear glasses. I handed them out and said, “Everybody, put on your essentialist glasses so you can see clearly and have a 20/20 vision going into 2020.” You have to have that clarity as a leader or you will not be able to lead others to clarity. If they’re not clear, you’re going to get chaos and confusion in your business and the whirlwind will prevail.

We all know that the whirlwind doesn’t stop. It keeps going. We have to intentionally break out of the whirlwind and help people see clearly what they need to be doing to move forward to the things we say matter the most. I hope that has been helpful to you. I hope you have an amazing 2020 or whatever year or quarter you’re planning as a result of reading my thoughts. I look forward to the next episode. We’ll bring back a guest. Thank you for tuning in to the show.


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