Chapter 4The Fray Gets in the Way!

The Challenge

You may be thinking of how you are expected to execute toward the ultimate few objectives (TUFs) consistently when you already have dozens of daily duties to perform: meetings to prepare for and attend; reports to read; phone calls and e-mails to make and answer; employee problems to handle; training to conduct or participate in; customers to meet, sell to, satisfy, and follow up with; and the list could go on longer than the memory of a spouse whose special day you forgot. In my master the art of execution (MAX) workshop, I refer to this mass of daily duties as “the fray.” Fray is defined as “a fight, battle, or skirmish” (, n.d.). Sounds like an apt definition of most daily routines, don't you think? Without question, fighting the daily fray is most likely your own number one roadblock to execution.

The 80/20 Fray Balance

Do not be too fast to scapegoat the fray as your reason for not executing. People do not execute well because they have no process for consistently getting the right things done while the fray rages. Besides, your daily fray is not going away; it is a fact of life. Although problems can be solved, facts of life must be dealt with strategically.

It is also helpful to understand that the fray is necessary. There are certain duties people must perform daily to keep the organizational gears turning. Execution of anything new or important falters when the fray, and all its inglorious urgency, hijacks ...

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