A recent, not uncommon event: A friend is admitted to hospital with a triple heart attack…he is not even in his thirties…even though in hospital his thoughts are at work and how to complete his current projects…. “What is the core, the #1, most basic, important thing right now?”…what would your answer be?
Some people say that “WHY” is the most important question one can ask. I disagree! The most important question you can ask is “what’s at the core, the most essential, most important, most basic thing”?
Asking “why” may get you to the core of a problem but it does not tell you if you are focusing on the right problem! We all have limited time and resources. What if you spend 80% of your time on solving the wrong problem? Asking “what’s at the core, what’s the #1 thing I cannot live without” allows you to identify where you should focus your energy on.
Detecting the core is insanely difficult because it is hidden below many layers. Layers of noise, information overload, people giving you conflicting advice, no time to think… the most practical thing you can do now is to simplify…
Ask “What’s the #1 thing I cannot live without?” = that’s the core! That’s where you need to focus your energy.
What’s the #1 customer, product, margin, market, channel, report, person, employee, event, memory…. I cannot survive without? You can never focus on everything. You have to prioritize. Always!
If you cannot come up with the #1 thing right away, then work backwards. List the TOP10, then narrow down to the TOP5, then TOP3, then #1. By the way, this technique works well for the allocation of any scarce resource… time, energy, budgets…
What would your answer be if you asked yourself right now
“What’s the #1 most important thing?”