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Strategic Discipline Blog

Everything Matters Equally – NOT, When You Pursue Your ONE THING

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Dec 18, 2017

The One THING.jpgJust returned from 10 days traveling of Annual and Quarterly Planning with my customers. I want to press upon you and your business, the importance of The One Thing.  It’s critical to make your 2018 successful.  Focus is a critical part of achievement.  In today’s world it’s easy to be distracted. In our last blog on Multitasking, Eliminate Multi-tasking - Achieve 28% Greater Productivity, we shared time the average time per day a desk job employee loses to interruptions and distractions (2.1 hours). We shared how being distracted lowers your IQ by up to 10 points.  Focus is important to productivity and concentration. When you believe everything matters equally, you are majoring in minors.  Today’s blog is a repeat of my introductory blog, The Six Lies Between You and Success. Thursday I plan to share further insights into the “Everything Matters Equally” Lie from Gary Keller’s  The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, as well as helpful insights on the results my customers achieve from using the One Thing principle in their business.

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results we shared a remarkable video on the chain reaction that results when one domino falls on to another. 

Verne Harnish has long touted the value of identifying One Thing for your business as your annual and quarterly priority.  At Positioning Systems it’s a mandate we require our customers to identify in their planning for 2018. 

One Thing author Gary Keller believes in going small.  His experience repeatedly showed that by narrowing his concentration in his business and life, his success multiplied. 

If achieving success is as simple as going small, focusing on One Thing, why don’t we follow it?

Keller shared six lies about success that keep us from living the One Thing:Six Lies Between You & Success The One Thing.jpg

  1. Everything Matters Equally
  2. Multitasking
  3. A Disciplined Life
  4. Willpower Is Always on Will-Call
  5. A Balanced Life
  6. Big Is Bad

These six lies are beliefs that get into our heads. They’re operational principles driving us in the wrong direction, highways that end as bunny trails.  These lies are fool’s gold that divert us from the mother lode.

In my early blog I promised to look at these to help you focus on One Thing.  That’s where my focus is as my customers complete their Annual and First Quarter/trimester planning. 

In this age of political correctness, I love how Keller opens his chapter on Everything Matters Equally:  Equality is a worthy ideal pursued in the name of justice and human rights. In the real world of results, however, things are never equal. No matter how teachers grade—two students are not equal. No matter how fair officials try to be—contests are not equal. No matter how talented people are—no two are ever equal. A dime equals ten cents and people must absolutely be treated fairly, but in the world of achievement everything doesn’t matter equally.

Equality is a lie.

Understanding this is the basis of all great decisions.

Remember this: Success is not won by whoever does the most. 

To Do List

Do you make a To Do List? Keller feels to list is to tyrannize us with the trivial.Checklist_To_Do_List.png 

Do you have a love-hate relationship with your To Do List?  Your email inbox can often dictate your day in the same manner as a to do list can.  You simply can’t tackle tasks in the order you receive them. 

Achievers operate differently.  Achievers have an eye for the essential.  They pause, think and plan their day, just long enough to decide what matters and then they pursue those things that matter to drive their day.  The difference between an achiever and most others it they do sooner what others plan to do later. 

Achievers always work from a clear sense of priority.  If you simply create a To Do List it will lead you astray.  To Do Lists are often nothing more than a survival list.  They get you through the day but seldom, if ever, create a stepping-stone for the next sequence required to build a successful life.

In our Strategic Discipline Blog we’ve addressed this multiple times.  Learn more about the importance of precision and specificity in your daily planning in: Priorities Discipline Requires Precision and Specificity, Focus on Priorities – Eisenhower Matrix, Key Behaviors Build Effective Energy Management Rituals, or, by browsing the entire selection of topics from Strategic Discipline blogs (10) on Precision and Specificity.

Success List – Pareto Principle

Just as in the domino example, we need to realize life doesn’t line up the right things for us in order for you and I to topple them sequentially to achieve our goals and neither does a To Do List. 

How do you decide what matters most at any given moment of any day? What are the vital few that make a difference?

Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, discovered in the 19th century a mathematical model for income distribution in Italy.  His discovery:  80 percent of the land was owned by 20 percent of the people. Many years later when America was struggling to decipher the Enigma Code (Germany’s infamous tool for encoding secret messages in WWI), Joseph Juran, an early quality-control pioneer, coined this idea for “vital few and trivial many” the Pareto Principle of unequal distribution.

The Pareto Principle.jpgThe Pareto Principle is very clear in the direction it points us to: the majority of what you want comes from the minority of what you do.

Extra ordinary results are created disproportionately by fewer actions than most of us realize.

Here’s the interesting fact that you may not realize about the Pareto’s Principle.  The 80/20 principle is not essentially a fact.  It could be 90/20 or 70/10 or even 65/5.  Depending on circumstances your results may vary, yet the fundamental truth is always present.  Not everything matters equally.  Some things (the essential things for each of us) matter more, much more than others. 

In order to make your To Do List a success list you need to apply the Pareto Principle to it.  Which items on your list produce the greatest results? 

The key to getting more done in 2018:  GO SMALL!the-one-thing-Everything Matters Equally.jpg

Positioning Systems’ Strategic Discipline helps mid-sized ($5M - $250M) business Scale-UP. We’re experts at keeping The One ThingYour One Thing! Are you avoiding a conversation with yourself on how you can grow your business? Contact for expert help to Scale Up your business!  Or take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.

Next Blog – More on Lie #1: Everything Matters Equally

Join us Thursday for more insights on why Everything Matters Equally is a recipe for disaster, and the critical importance of choosing a One Thing for you and Your Company for 2018.

Topics: Annual Plan, productivity, The One Thing, Quarterly Plans, To do Lists, Every Thing Matters Equally

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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