A century ago, Charles Schwab was among the richest people in the world. As president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, he consistently sought new and better ways to do business and get an edge on his competition. As far as we at Aurora Worldwide are concerned, one of the wisest things he ever did was consult with Ivy Lee.
Lee was a productivity consultant, who asked for 15 minutes to spend with each of Schwab’s executives. He promised to make an impact, with no payment required. If Schwab was happy with the results of Lee’s work, he was free to send Lee whatever payment he felt was appropriate. These are the steps Lee advised the executives to take:
- At the end of every workday, write down six priorities for the next day in order of importance.
- The next morning, focus only on the first task until completion.
- Follow the same process for the remaining tasks, accomplishing one at a time.
It seems incredibly simplistic, but the technique was so effective that Schwab later sent Lee a check for $25,000. That’s the equivalent of $400,000 today. It’s our belief at Aurora Worldwide that the strategy worked so well because it was so easy, yet forced the executives to make difficult decisions about their biggest priorities. It required focus and diligence, and was also clearly defined.
Learning from Lee’s expertise, everyone at Aurora Worldwide makes sure to do our highest-impact work first every day. Will you do the same?