Are you ready for 2014? Does your team execute without your holding them accountable?

Winter Greetings,

By this time in January, it’s easy to figure it’s too late to do any planning.  Keep on keeping on, we may think.
If you’ve already done you’re planning and everyone is clear on your priorities, getting on with it is exactly what you want to do, but if you’re not clear, better to realize that we still have 100% of the year left (48 weeks with a plan — taking one more week for planning — will outperform 52 weeks without one every time).

This is the third message in a 4-part series designed to have you asking the questions and taking the actions that will accelerate growth and free you up to do what really matters in 2014.

If you’d like a quick 20 minute phone call with me to discuss any of these topics, please schedule yourself here:

Here’s to an inspiring, prosperous and fulfilling 2014!

Does your team know what’s most important to be working on, without you reminding them?

These were Apple’s product lines when Steve Jobs returned from the wilderness.

Most companies work on too many different products and projects at one time.  Just as Apple’s product lines had expanded during Steve Jobs’ wilderness years, so too do our companies, robbing us of focus.  When he came back, Jobs famously drew a 2×2 matrix on the whiteboard, as Isaacson describes in his biography:

He grabbed a magic marker, padded to a whiteboard, and drew a horizontal and vertical line to make a four-squared chart. “Here’s what we need,” he continued. Atop the two columns he wrote “Consumer” and “Pro”; he labeled the two rows, “Desktop” and “Portable.” Their job, he said, was to make four great products, one for each quadrant.

Apple was able to put their A team on all four products, and update each one every 9 months instead of the 18 months they were taking before.  This kind of focus does result in a tradeoff.

If you make the tradeoff:

Pro Con
iPod iTunes is a bloated mess
iPhone iCloud still doesn’t really work
iPad no iTV or iWatch (yet?)
MacBook Air office suite hasn’t been updated since 2009
Mac Pro (2013) hadn’t been updated in over 3 years

If you don’t make the tradeoff:

Lots of people are happy with their Samsung phones, but does the average consumer have any idea how to differentiate these 12 phones (there are actually 19 available at AT&T, but I couldn’t fit them all in this screenshot)?  And maybe more importantly, does this kind of lineup result in customer loyalty (or even preference)?

So, here we are on January 24.  Is your entire senior team crystal clear on your top priority for the year and first quarter?  If not, take your team out for a long lunch with one agenda item: What is the #1 thing we must do by March 31, 2014 to move the business forward.  Have them write their ideas down, one per index card.  Put the cards on the table between all of you and let them group and combine ideas as necessary.  If the #1 hasn’t emerged by the time you’re ready to go back to the office, you take all the cards with you and simply choose yourself.  Also, put a quarterly offsite meeting on everyone’s calendar now for late March or early April.

Next week: How do you track weekly action on your priorities without micromanaging?

The Purpose Podcast

Episode 25 of the Purpose Podcast came out yesterday.  I talk about the inspiring story of Giulietta Carrelli and the Trouble Coffee & Coconut Club, plus have a great interview with Rob Jordan of Idealist Consulting.  Every week we encourage entrepreneurs to find and live their purpose, at work and in their lives. Are you clear on your purpose? Do you actions reflect that purpose?  Take a listen and send me your thoughts. If you like the show, please subscribe in iTunesStitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.  Also, if you’d like to be a guest on an upcoming show, please let me know.


I free up entrepreneurs for greater impact. Day to day demands of your growing business will sap your energy and blunt your effectiveness. Together we can work to reduce demands by up to 80% while moving more quickly in the direction of your purpose.

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