Fruit or Labor – What are you focused on?

Apr 19, 2018

Momentum…process….results. It’s easy to get sidetracked. It’s easy to chase. To be reactive. It’s hard work to be process-driven…to be intentional…to be proactive. It’s a constant battle. It’s something you have to constantly be aware of. It doesn’t mean you won’t be reactive at certain points in your day or your life, but you must become aware of that…and have the situational awareness to move to a more proactive state.

We just kicked off a project with our sales team – a fairly new team I lead. We’re calling it Project Flywheel, based on the concept popularized in Jim Collin’s book, “Good to Great”. You can read more about it here but essentially it’s this – a disciplined, intentional approach over time leads to exponential gains. A flywheel at a certain point has momentum that builds on itself. And, what may have been extreme effort to get it going, turns to a place where the process and the disciplined actions lead to outcomes. As Collins states, each “turn of the wheel” eventually begins to build on each other, acting like compounded interest.

I’m working with my guys on a more disciplined approach. More rigor around what they do and how they do it. It undoubtedly will be a little painful at first. Just like Collins states, the beginning stages of an endeavor can be challenging and take quite a bit of effort. However, as we build the discipline into our approach, it should lead to a cadence of consistent planning and execution. We’ll look at each deal we have and put it into a strategic framework. It essentially comes down to a couple things – 1 – What’s the compelling reason or value to the client to invest? 2 – How are we serving and meeting the needs of each influencer? 3 – What’s our plan to execute? (these are specific milestones that we will outline and hold ourselves accountable). Then, we’ll meet consistently and discuss each deal in this framework. These deals can be pretty complex but the idea is that the framework is simple enough to filter any deal through and unearth other ways we can articulate the value.

As I told my team when we kicked this off, you can be Brett Favre and be a great QB, maybe even win a SB title and make the Hall of Fame. Tons of talent but I’m not sure, ultimately, if Favre squeezed everything out of his talent (no disrespect to Packer or Favre fans – he was so good). Or, you can be Tom Brady and focus on a disciplined process and approach. At 41, Brady is still considered on top of his game and has won 5 Super Bowls. He will probably go down as the greatest of all time. Pick 199 in the 2000 draft. Passed over many times, even by the Patriots not once, but five times! Perfect example of process trumping talent.

If you think about a personal life example, let’s say you want to lose 10 lbs, a very common goal for many people. If you’re not eating right or working out, the beginning stages are going to be hard. Those first few workouts and establishing that consistency won’t be easy. However, over time with consistent execution, you will start to see results, feel better and the same effort it took in the beginning (or less) will lead to exponential gains (or losses in this case). I love the idea of focusing on the process vs the outcome. In this example, stop focusing on the 10 lbs. Instead, focus on the workout – get the work done today – and then do it again tomorrow. I’ve heard Chet Scott from Built to Lead say this – focus on the labor not the fruit. I love this concept.

How about you? Have you thought about this? What aspects of your life and work could benefit from a flywheel approach? Are you focusing on the fruit or the labor?


“Good to Great” by Jim Collins

“Built to Lead” by Chet Scott


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