It was during our weekly executive meeting at mid-fiscal year, when our leader burst into the room very excited. He had been reading an article about how the best companies in the world only attempt to do one or two new things each year. He began to explain that having the discipline to only choose one or two things exemplified the ability to focus, to make hard choices, and to execute well. And this separated the best companies from the rest.
He passed out copies of the article and had us read it together.
We discussed the article as a team and he grew more and more excited as we did. He challenged us about our doing too many things at a time. He chastised us about our inability to prioritize and choose. He criticized our inconsistent results.
“Look,” he said. “The best companies pick one or two things for a full year. We are a world-class company and this is a world-class team. Let’s reset our focus for the remainder of this fiscal year.”
“Let’s pick five things. Or six.”
“To govern is to choose. To appear to be unable to choose is to appear to be unable to govern.”
– Nigel Lawson