Too Busy

Many leaders, sooner or later, bemoan how busy they are. Stephen Covey, who died this week after a long and productive life, wrote a leadership classic long ago in 1989, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It is one of those rare books that is withstanding the test of time plus has served as the inspiration of a multitude of other self help leadership books which have a number in their titles. An invaluable thesis within Covey’s book is that leaders need to be busy doing highly important work and not fall prey to the tyranny of the urgent.

Just in case you’re too busy to read the book here is a simplified explanation of Covey’s thesis.

Leaders must take all of the tasks which they perform and place them within one of four quadrants. The quadrants sit on a High Importance/Low Importance and High Urgency/Low Urgency axis. He argues that leaders too often are focused on matters which today are Highly Urgent but for the long term health and vitality of the organization they lead prove to be of Low Importance. As leaders are able to focus on matters of High Importance the number of urgent problems that appear on their doorstep actually decline.

Today is a good day to give thanks for a leader like Covey who could articulate such a simple yet highly important discernment tool for leaders around the world. If you are too busy you really need to pick up a copy of the book and put the thesis to work for yourself. – BB

It’s Only Rock n Roll

“It’s only rock n roll but I like it”, “I’m jumping Jack Flash it’s a gas, gas, gas”, “I can’t get no satisfaction” are just some of the iconic rock n roll lyrics from The Rolling Stones’ 50 years of music making, debauchery and world class marketing. Whereas there is no reason for any leader to admire the lifestyles of a Mick Jagger or Keith Richards one must respect their longevity in a world that includes plenty of one hit wonders, an even greater number of ‘wanna be’ rockers as well as honest to goodness mega stars who have come and gone. (I miss ELO!) Not even the Beatles who were more creative and talented musicians lasted 50 years. So, congratulations to a motley crew of elderly men for consistently recording new albums that continually sell, who still have the desire for the endless touring and the passion to keep the marketing relevant for your fans of all ages.

This entertainment news isn’t earth shattering but it does serve as yet another example of how rare longevity is in today’s world. To stay at a task; to continually hone your skills in such a manner that keeps you fresh and relevant to those around you is a worthy goal for any leader.

Perhaps I’ll download and listen to their “Now!” album as I read Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, “Long Walk To Freedom”. Better idea, I’ll play a Muddy Waters CD because he is after all the guy who inspired the Stones eons ago. – BB