1. Start with clarity -set clear, specific goals & objectives. Write it all down and commit to it.
If people did this consistently, it wouldn’t require mentioning. It would amaze you how many goals, visions, float around in vague conversations, but never concrete words. If it’s not written down and printed on paper, the odds are it’s not clear and not committed to. Paper is critical, as fighting through all the pixels and distractions to locate a digital version is fool’s errand.
2. Read and review what you’ve written and committed to.
Ignoring your plans is like building a GPS system and never thinking to use it to help you get to where you want to go.
3. Find a way to block off time in your life just to think – develop a personal passion for exploring your own thoughts.
To this day, my best ideas came from a paper practice and doing what most refuse to do (read, write, review, and study).
4. Design plans that are aligned to objectives with enough detail to make troubleshooting and optimizing easier down the road
– because no one gets it right – right out of the gate. Again if people did this I wouldn’t need to mention it, but all too often, people get distracted and choose a gizmo, doodad, or complex B2B SaaS CRM that promises to take them to the moon, when you originally wanted to go to Mars. What usually happens is that these kinds of decisions end up only taking them to the cleaners.
5. Rigorously pursue these objectives until completion or adjustment.
Stick with it or write down and explain why you’re quitting, course correcting, or adjusting goals, and why/how the new move is better.
6. Proactively prevent distractions & noise.
The world is too noisy to never get distracted. This is why hacking your personal triggers, and those of your team and company are essential. Simple policies to delay or pause before engaging known distractions, whether it’s a TV show, or sending the sales team the super fun conference that never yields insights or prospects beyond a hangover and a bill, whichever your preference, surf the urge and take a minute.
7. Regularly check for alignment as work is done.
The more complex the project, the more people involved, the easier it is to drift out of alignment with your mission, goals and objectives. I keep my mission, goals, milestones and big projects on a cork board above by desk.
8. Use the plans and insight to avoid foreseeable failures.
If you’ve taken the previous steps, honoring the alignment, designs and policies, you’ll have a good sense of how things can break or go wrong, and what kinds of things to avoid. Simply avoiding the perils that your competition falls for, and enduring the storms can make you a market leader over time. This is a survivor’s advantage. Remember most businesses go under within 3 years, and only 4% make it to their 10th birthday.
If you can bake cookies you can be successful in business. Assuming a modicum of quality in your product, if you start with clarity, and do these 8 things in business, you will be ahead of 99% of your competition. That’s what I do.
The reason most people fail is we have struggle to acknowledge failing to do simple things and we far more to distract ourselves with to cope in the near term. For example, as you read this you may wish you were listening to this via podcast while grocery shopping, or you were simply watching a video with interesting graphics instead of reading. But avoiding a successful path and accepting ourselves in all of our distracted glory, only prolongs struggle.