I am in Singapore, enjoying great food and catching up with great friends. One of my friends has a successful education and consulting firm. She shared with me a fond memory of when she was launching her start up. She asked me for bit of guidance a few years a go as she was launching her company.
Since it is always easier to edit than to create, I had suggested that she come up with a list of important actions for her start up to fuel our discussion. She came up with a good list of 20+ items. A couple of examples from her list were:
get an office
fax and copier
You know... The usual suspects. All good things to do yet not crucial.
I asked her, "These are all good things to do, but let me ask you a question... Who is going to feed you?" That question shocked her back to the reality and realization that the most important priority of all was not on her list! That priority was to find and close her first customer. While the list of 20 were good things to do, none of them were crucial at her stage of company development. The only thing that really mattered was to find her first customer.
Sometimes we get so busy by seemingly important things that we are blinded from identifying the true critical priority that we should be focused on. It is so easy to be lulled to sleep by being so busy doing stuff. Unfortunately, we can get blindsided by what we should have been focusing on instead. Imagine that! "Asleep at the wheel" while actually working hard. Sometimes it takes a friend or someone not blinded by the trees to ask us the Critical Question. The right question has the power to help us clear the fog of the many non-critical work items and regain focus on the most important thing to accomplish today.
Are you working on the right things? What's your list? What's your Critical Question?
That's Execution Lesson #111 - The Power of knowing your Critical Question