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Becoming a Leader (Part 12)

5 Step Personal Development Process

Becoming a Leader:  Challenge #11–Focus

A FranklinCovey study on goals revealed the following:

1. If you have 2-3 primary goals, you will most likely accomplish 2-3 of them.

2. If you have 3-10 primary goals, you will most likely accomplish 1 or 2 of them.

3. If you have more than 10 primary goals, you will most likely accomplish none of them.

Like a lot of things in life: less is more. If you want to succeed, focus on the goals that are most important and most in alignment with your values. Pare down the list, as difficult as that might be.

Southwest Airlines prides itself on being the low-cost provider, and being the low-cost provider helps them make focused decisions.  They never debate the benefits of chicken salad sandwiches or tuna wraps on their flights, since those would add to their costs. That doesn’t mean they skimp on equipment or training, however. Low-cost means that you take care of your equipment, and you train your pilots and crew very well because the loss of one aircraft, crew, and passengers is very expensive. To my knowledge, Southwest has never lost a passenger’s life or an aircraft. They have a focused goal of low cost, and that goal drives their business.

Becoming a Leader:  Talent #11–Energy Begets Energy

Energy, like a smile or a yawn, is contagious. Athletes motivate their team members by showing their energy. Dynamic speakers motivate their audience with energy and enthusiasm. Musical concerts are often full of high energy theater to get the crowd involved. In the infamous words of the late Zig Ziglar: “Motivation doesn’t last. Well neither does bathing–that’s why we recommend it daily.”

Your team is watching. Let them see your energy and excitement for the mission. It’s contagious.

Related Links:

Becoming a Leader (Part 1)

Becoming a Leader (Part 2)

Becoming a Leader (Part 3)

Becoming a Leader (Part 4)

Becoming a Leader (Part 5)

Becoming a Leader (Part 6)

Becoming a Leader (Part 7)

Becoming a Leader (Part 8)

Becoming a Leader (Part 9)

Becoming a Leader (Part 10)

Becoming a Leader (Part 11)

About the Author

Calvin has nearly three decades of executive and leadership experience. He is a former Air Force officer where he directed the Air Force Oil Analysis Program, the B-1 Bomber flight simulator modification program, and the design and integration of the Advanced Cruise Missile Variant. His executive leadership includes Director of the Rochester Merrill Lynch office and Vice President of Investment Services at Think Mutual Bank. Calvin Guyer Full Bio

  • Phil Gapp

    Thanks for sharing this Calvin! We have learned from Tim Ferris in the 4-hour Work Week to set just a couple important action items for each day, not an endless checklist. This has really boosted our motivation and energy, helped us to realize success every day, and decreased the stress and anxiety of always having too much to get done!

    The validation and tips regarding motivation/energy are inspirational – I’m off to do my 2-3 tasks.

    - Phil Gapp, CEO, Galactic Edge Innovative

    • Gary B Cohen


      What do you find consistently on your list? How do you know or evaluate the importance of each?

      • Phil Gapp

        Sorry for the late reply, thankfully we don’t have many recurring to-do’s (apart from writing proposals, phone calls, etc). We use the SCRUM software life cycle ( to determine the importance) of our daily tasks.

        This way we also create and maintain a backlog of long-term goals, and our communication as a team is both high-quality and frequent. Our problem lately is scheduling conflicts which prevent our daily SCRUM process. Hopefully as we grow, having organized teams with leaders driving each, this life cycle will thrive within the organization to allow us more flexible schedules.

        I’m curious why you asked….

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