Helping children with autism reach their full potential

CEO to CEO: Fundamentals

Coaches from every sport and vocation will tell you that success depends upon mastering the fundamentals. F

If you want to learn to bowl well, you’re going to have to learn to consistently deliver the ball over the foul line as you slide on your opposite foot. Right-handers ending on their right foot cannot achieve the correct balance. By contrast, a right-handed basketball player shoots best off his right foot. Fundamentals

So how does the novice discover what the fundamentals are? He’s got to access the insights of experts. Relying upon anecdotal evidence and personal trial-and-error alone is not only tedious and inefficient, it usually results in serious deficiencies and dysfunction. Fundamentals

The average CEO reportedly reads more than 60 books every year. Why? Because a well-written book delivers decades of real-life experience in a distilled form that a student can digest in hours.

A reader absorbs insights which would require thousands of lifetimes to acquire directly. And great books are typically written by those who have the benefit of having read thousands of great books themselves. The concentration of knowledge and insights stack.

Researching a question, such as “What are the fundamentals of running a successful business?” takes shape in the researcher’s mind as she reads different experts and discovers universally consistent answers. Some questions elicit multiple schools of thought; others reveal nearly-unanimous consensus.

The more we study, contrast, and compare, the more our sense of the invisible becomes visible. We come to grasp what the novice cannot yet know. Gradually we move from apprentice to journeyman to master. There is no quick shortcut…only the (substantial) difference between learning haphazardly, catch-as-catch-can, and deeply studying the true masters.

One fundamental, if practiced, will lead to the others: prioritize the important over the expedient. Does that mean ignore the customer’s call while you leisurely read “The Art of War”? No, but it does mean you look for ways to leverage your future ability—your future market value—by educational preparation today. Every day. In your thinking, in your actions, in your conversations, in your relationships.

A CEO is an architect—always imagining and designing a better future. She cannot neglect today’s emergencies, but she’s always building and reinforcing systems which increasingly cover today’s routine concerns so that she becomes ever-freer to focus on her highest-value exercises—top-level recruiting, team-building, major sales/negotiations, and most especially long-range planning.

Vision for your business is predicated upon vision for yourself. What characteristics do you most prize? Who are you? How does your passion dovetail with your business plan—now, in five years, in twenty years? How and whom do you want to serve? What legacy do you want to leave?

If you are already a voracious reader, then you’re well on your way. If not, at least you made it this far through this post. Go for what most piques your interest in the moment. Increase your habit of asking Siri questions and read an article she offers to glean a little more information than you might have found before.

Use Audible if that helps. And listen to insightful teachers with a deep understanding of personal development. There are so many. I personally love Jordan Peterson, Joyce Meyer, and others who have cultivated well-integrated wisdom over decades of devoted care for the highest ideals in life.

The short-term payoff? Ideas! And insights to solve mystifying difficulties. Reading connects dots in your mind you never imagined could possibly connect. It’s exciting, energizing, inspiring.

The long-term payoff? Enjoying a deeply meaningful life in ways we could not imagine except for the insights of others.

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