The Focused CEO

A revolution in what previously had been a largely organized and focused life was to take The 4 Disciplines of Execution* seriously.

It played out in two ways:

  1. Enterprise. Business planning and strategy have 1-2 action steps tied to annual strategies in any quarter. Never more. And, no person has ownership for more than two such actions. It is okay for them to have just one.

  2. Personally. Each day I list 1-2 key items that are the musts for me to accomplish.

In either case, it is fine to have a longer list from which to pull the 1-2 key items to execute, but never choose more than two and sometimes only one.

Keeping to these limits is way harder to do than it may sound. There is plenty of art to making it work, in addition to the science of choosing 1-2 strategic actions to execute.

  • It is important to calibrate these 1-2 tasks. You don’t want to be overly simplistic, nor do you want to create omnibus categories.

Too simple: “Call mom”

Too obtuse: “Land more customers”

Better: “Develop the plan to communicate to the top 20% of our clients”

  • Conversations and thinking-time meetings are as important as any task, often more so.

This discipline, when practiced, creates a momentum. Even more, it puts a deeper neural pathway in place. You begin taking note of what is completed as well as what comes next, rather than being stuck on what you did not get done and what else remains.

It is better to be driven toward the emerging future state rather than stuck in “someday”.

* McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (2016). The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals. New York: Free Press.


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About the Author

Mark Vincent.jpg

Mark L. Vincent (PhD, CCNL) is the Director of the Convene Consulting Network. He is also the CEO of Design Group International, an organizational development company providing wise guidance for enterprise, nonprofits, and ministry organizations. His passion is to love leaders as they claim their life vocation as stewards of enterprise.