Four Realities Leaders Must Face as They Tackle Larger Roles


For as long as I can remember, I’ve been committed to doing my best at work. I paid attention to every detail. I never let anything slip through the cracks. I listened carefully. I looked for ways to learn more, get better and grow in every situation. From part-time minimum wage jobs to full-time high paying career roles, my model for business success had worked over and over. Commitment, passion, hard work, attention to detail and a ‘do whatever it takes’ attitude, led me to super-fast aggressive growth over and over again.

But, as my workload evolved and conditions changed, there came times when my formula wasn’t working like it had before. In fact, not only was it not working, it seemed to be creating more issues and stress for me, my staff and really everyone who crossed my path. As I fought through it time and time again, the advice I heard only frustrated me more. One common theme was… ‘What got you here won’t get you there.’ When I first heard this, I took it to mean that I needed to learn additional new skills and strategies. Just like every other new situation I encountered before, I thought.

Thinking and Working Differently

Ultimately, I discovered that they were not talking about new skills and strategies. This principle was about thinking and working differently. For many years, my success came from learning (adding) new skills and improving my existing work habits. Now, time had come to replace and reset my way of looking at things and my work habits. And at each new level and in each different role, it became more and more important to shift my strategies and my mindset. For 20 years now, I’ve continued to study and practice how to think and work smarter so I can increase my results and satisfaction in everything I do. I’ve spent the last several years working with others to help them do the same. Over time, I’ve discovered that there are four realities that every key leader needs to fully embrace if he or she wants to achieve the highest levels of success in any new, changing and constantly evolving situation.

Reality #1: You Can’t Get to Everything

You cannot get to everything. It sounds easy enough but for those of us that are high achievers, it’s difficult to accept. The idea of leaving things incomplete or not responding to every opportunity or idea seems like the ultimate sin in business. If you are like me, it may be even harder because so much of your early and continued success was tied to your ability to tackle everything.

Reality #2: Not Everything Matters Equally

It appears obvious that not everything matters equally. But think about it this way. This principle isn’t just about some things being more valuable than others. It’s about the fact that some things are 10, 20 or even 100 times more important than others. The highest performing leaders give focused attention to the real priorities and have others deal with all the rest.

Reality #3: Success Comes from a Very Few Things

Only a small handful of things are responsible for the huge majority of the impact of any success! As Jim Rohn used to say, ‘There are always a half-dozen things that make up 80% of the difference in any endeavor.’ The more successful you become, the more important it is for you to dedicate your time and attention in only those areas. Delegate the rest to others.

Reality #4: Without Regular Attention, Everyone Drifts

Highly successful leaders know that, without regular ongoing attention, everyone drifts off course. Life is busy and human beings are creatures of habit. The best leaders schedule time to review progress, challenge the status quo and explore new ways to improve themselves, their teams and their organizations.

Action Steps

To ensure your success continues, take a minute to answer these questions regarding each of the four key realities.

  1. Are you trying to do everything? If so, what can you delegate or drop entirely?

  2. What are the few priorities that make the most impact in your current situation?

  3. Is most of your time focused on those key priorities?

  4. What are you doing to ensure you and your team are not drifting?