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Forget the long to-do lists and choose one thing to be good at

Forget the long to-do lists and choose one thing to be good at

By Vickie Elmer April 19, 2013

Success doesn’t come from a four-hour workweek or a list of seven steps. People who are extraordinarily successful are known for just one thing, one passion, one amazing skill, says Gary Keller and co-author Jay Papasan in their new book called The One Thing. That is true for Warren Buffett choosing investments or Bill Gates and computers. This notion comes partly from Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto’s principle, which showed that 80% of wealth was held by 20% of the people. This works elsewhere as the 80/20 principle, where a small portion of effort leads to oversized results. “Things don’t matter equally. …The smaller I make my life, the bigger it gets,” says Keller, the co-founder and chairman of Keller Williams Real Estate. Great bosses understand that businesses will succeed when staff are encouraged to excel in one domain. ”I want my phones answered extraordinarily. I want my contracts read extraordinarily. I want software done extraordinarily,” Keller said about his own real estate business. Here are three lessons from The One Thing:

1.  Success is sequential, not simultaneous.  Many people want it all. Yet when Keller coached “a lot of very successful men and women” in the 1990s, he would see them create a list of assignments to tackle. By their next conversation, they hadn’t accomplished the most important ones. Finally, he started making them choose one thing they would concentrate on between sessions. That led to dramatically improved results. He would ask them the focusing question: “What’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” That question runs through the book, and can serve to focus on big picture goals as well as daily priorities.

2. Nail your “one thing” by lunch.  Schedule your time block—a minimum of two hours, three or more is better—for the first part of your day when your willpower is highest. “By noon or 1 o’clock at latest, you’ve had an awesome day,” he said. “You’ve done what mattered most. Now you deal with all the other stuff.” For executive meetings, know the one thing that drives your business’ success, and make that the first item on your agenda always.

3. Everyone blows it. Keller wanted his book to be grounded in research, so the first draft came in at 400 pages. His publisher said: “Why don’t you practice what you preach?” The authors ended up cutting it in half.

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About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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