Chapter 7. Facing the Brutal Realities

What Are the Big Issues that Must Be Addressed? (10 minutes)

My job is to turn over rocks and look at the squiggly things, even if what you see can scare the hell out of you.

Fred Purdue, Former Vice President and General Manager of Business Process, Pitney Bowes

Leadership does not begin just with vision. It begins with getting people to confront the brutal facts and to act on the implications ... One of the primary ways to de-motivate people is to ignore the brutal facts of reality.

Jim Collins, Author of Good to Great

Focus on the Few Issues that Have the Greatest Impact

In his book Good to Great, author Jim Collins says, "The good-to-great leaders were able to strip away so much noise and clutter and just focus on the few things that would have the greatest impact." That's what you're going to do here in the next 10 minutes.

In order to focus on the few things that have the greatest impact on your business growth, you'll want to apply the 80/20 principle.

You know the drill:

  • 20 percent of your clothes are worn 80 percent of the time.

  • 20 percent of the people have 80 percent of the wealth.

  • 20 percent of your customers provide 80 percent of your revenue.

  • 20 percent of your employees provide 80 percent of your results.

  • 20 percent of your issues will lead to 80 percent of your business growth.

Of course, it's not always exactly 80/20; but the point as Richard Koch writes in his book The 80/20 Principle, is that, "...there is an inbuilt imbalance between ...

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