When you consider what it takes to be successful in today’s ever-changing world, too many leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals respond: “Get more done faster.” This translates to the business mantra too many companies parrot: “Do more with less.”

The real problem with this thinking is its near total failure to advance the most important, highest value, game-changing choices that drive success. Instead, it drives the lemming-like behavior off jumping off the cliff of perspective and intelligent decision-making into the roiling tidal waves in the ocean of to-do lists.

Doing more of what really doesn’t matter, but which seems to live eternally on your to-do list, is why so many people are dispirited by their work, and unproductive at moving their organization’ s critical goals forward.

As the legendary basketball coach John Wooden always said: “Never mistake activity for results. ”

Everywhere I go I ask people: “How many of you can do everything on your to-do list?” The answer – no one can. That raises the really important question: “How do you choose what to do – and what not to do? This is where most people end up on the ‘ hamster-wheel’ of activity, rather than the elevator of high impact results. Doing more activities that do not have a direct impact on producing meaningful and valuable results is a massive waste of time, talent, resources, and most important of all– your people’ s passion, commitment, and initiative. Raising the focus of your people and organization from the ‘ tyranny of the to-do list’ to what is most important to accomplish realigns resources (time, attention, effort, etc.) with results that matter.

Do you really want people checking off critical results the organization needs to accomplish? My response to the foolishness of “Do more with less” thinking is to counsel leaders and their people to “Do less that means more.”

The choice of what to do, far more than how much to do, is a predictor of ultimate success. Focus on your top priorities –instead of all of your activities – if you really want to be successful. Then all of your decisions are in service of results instead of crossing things off your to-do list.

To your success,
Steve