***This article is inspired by chapter 11 of John C. Maxwell’s book Leadership Gold –
“Keep Your Mind On The Main Thing.”***

We live and work in a complex world full of options. This can lead to frenetic living trying to do it all or it can create “analysis paralysis.” In order to be most effective, you must keep the main thing the main thing. And to do that, you must first know what should receive your energy and attention.

You’ve most likely heard of the “Pareto Principle” which says that 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results. The problem is that most people never define the 20% to focus on and, therefore, the 80% receive too much of their attention.

John Maxwell asks three good questions to help you determine what the main thing should be:

1 – What gives me the greatest return?

2 – What is most rewarding?

3 – What is required of me?

If you will designate time to answer these questions, you will be well on your way of identifying your main thing.

Jim Collins wrote this in his best-selling business book Good to Great – “Foxes pursue many ends at the same time and see the world in all its complexity. Hedgehogs, on the other hand, simplify a complex world into a single organizing idea, a basic principle or concept that unifies and guides everything.”

Are you a “fox” chasing many things or are you a “hedgehog” remaining focused on the things in which you are most effective?

Warren Buffet once said, “The business schools reward difficult, complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective.”

The reality is that our world becomes more complex every day. Information is multiplying at an extremely rapid rate. It can be overwhelming. The most effective people in our world today and as we head into the future are those who focus on a few key items and do them with excellence. If you try to do too much, you will dilute your efforts. Busyness is kryptonite to leaders. Intentionality and focus are their superpowers.

So, how can you stay focused and productive?

Consider the following 5 decisions that John Maxwell recommends:

1 – Determine not to know everything.

Be an expert in a few key items and surround yourself with experts in other relevant areas.

2 – Determine not to know everything first.

There’s no prize for being the first to know. In fact, most of what you can know first isn’t worth knowing at all! Build a team that is paying attention to relevant information.

3 – Determine to let someone represent you.

You don’t have to be at every meeting or be present on every call. Build a team of individuals who can represent you well and then delegate the task of showing up on your behalf.

4 – Determine to stay with your strengths and not work on your weaknesses.

Do what you can do best and delegate the rest. Even if you don’t have a large team yet, there are ways to outsource your weaknesses so you don’t dilute your expertise.

5 – Determine to take charge of what takes your time and attention.

No one will protect your schedule or attention. This is YOUR responsibility. Make the decision right now to take charge of your time and attention so you can remain focused on what matters most.

Keeping the main thing the main thing is hard work. That’s why most people don’t do it. If you desire to become a great leader, build a great team, and lead a great organization, this is a vital task.

You can do it.

I believe in you.

Until next time…make today GREAT!

P.S. If you need help developing a personal growth plan or implementing a leadership development program for your team, please contact me. I’d love to talk with you to determine how I can help!

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