The More You Try to Do, the Less You Accomplish

December 17, 2014 Chris McChesney

This is a stark, inescapable principle that we all live with. Somewhere along the way, most leaders forget this. Why? Because smart, ambitious leaders don’t want to do less, they want to do more, even when they know better.

Isn’t it really difficult for you to say no to a good idea, much less a great one? And yet, there will always be more good ideas than you and your teams have the capacity to execute. That’s why your first challenge is focusing on the wildly important.

Focus is a natural principle. The sun’s scattered rays are too weak to start a fire, but once you focus them with a magnifying glass they will bring paper to flame in seconds. The same is true of human beings—once their collective energy is focused on a challenge there is little they can’t accomplish.

Discipline 1: Focus on the Wildly Important requires you to go against your basic wiring as a leader and focus on less so that your team can achieve more.

When you implement Discipline 1 you start by selecting one (or, at the most, two) extremely important goals, instead of trying to significantly improve everything all at once. We call this a wildly important goal (WIG) to make it clear to the team that this is the goal that matters most. Failure to achieve it will make every other accomplishment seem secondary, or possibly even inconsequential.

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About the Author

Chris McChesney

Chris McChesney is a Wall Street Journal #1 National Bestselling Author – The 4 Disciplines of Execution. In his current role of Global Practice Leader of Execution for FranklinCovey, Chris is one of the primary developers of the 4 Disciplines of Execution. For more than a decade, he has led FranklinCovey’s design and development of these principles, as well as the consulting organization that has become the fastest growing area of the company.

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