Accomplish More by Doing Less – Part 2

Hare and Tortoise 001

When I wrote about my struggle to accomplish more by doing less last month, I struck a cord for a lot of you. One reader shared this: “I travel almost weekly. To catch flights I’m up many mornings around 4 am. Last night I arrived home at 10:30 pm. The easiest thing to give up is my “quiet time” for prayer, reading or meditation or exercise…all of which I need to stay healthy and productive.”

It is a hard struggle to shut down the years of a performance driven life and to willfully choose to live your life in a way that has greater benefits – for both yourself and for those you lead. So, if you’d like to accomplish more by doing less – here are the 4 choices I made that enabled me to live with margin in my life.

1) Determine your true north, figuring out what is most important to you. It forms your “rules of engagement” with the world. Check out my 2011 blog on that topic.  Finding Your ‘True North’

2) Once you define true north, do a cost benefit analysis of your current activities. It involves four questions to ask yourself before you say “YES”.  4 Prioritization Questions

3) Answer this question around focus. What good things will you not do so you can do great things? One of the best business books ever written is the Aesop fable “The Tortoise and The Hare”. The tortoise wins a race he should never have won by simply keeping his eye on the finish line.

4) Master your fears. As you start to focus and make intentional choices, fear (false expectations assumed real) will raise its ugly head. “What if” questions will start rattling around your brain.
• What if…clients see me as withdrawing (or even lazy)?
• What if…I focus on the wrong thing?
• What if… I fail?
• What if… what if…what if?
The truth is, fear is the great dream thief. If we let our fears govern our choices, we will never know what we could have done. I remember the day in 2006 when I decided to leave a 20-year career and go into business for myself. I was petrified and sure I’d fail. “What if” questions often swamped my mind. Now, almost 9 years later, I look back and see those fears for what they were – false expectations assumed real.

If we face fear, embrace fear, and master fear, we can do anything we want.

We can accomplish more by doing less.

We can live with integrity.

Unethical “Ladder Climbing” in the Workplace

This is a guest blog from a colleague I met at National SPeaker Association UNconference.  Bonnie’s discussion is about a person who takes the ideas of others and promotes them as her own.  In my next blog, we’ll be discussing people who lead out of mutual fear vs. mutual trust.  Nancy

Fear, concern and even intimidation are very real feelings that develop in many work groups.  It’s not uncommon to see a group in which “ladder climbing”, striving, and metaphorically speaking, scratching, is done in order to put one’s needs and desires ahead of others’. I saw this recently in a group where I was consulting.  The operations manager was determined to be seen and heard above all others, to the point of bypassing her co-workers and staff members to achieve her goals. She was known to take others’ ideas and present them to leadership as her own.  What drives this type of unethical behavior? 

 Often unethical behaviors may surface while a group is involved in other activities. In this example, the group was learning how they could work together more effectively, and wanted to better understand their different behavior styles. They had previously taken personality assessments and behavior profiling tools. It had not changed the fact that they were being influenced by one person wanting to have control. This person often overshadowed her boss. She wanted to make sure nothing changed and when she had control, she bypassed everyone else to maintain that. She would push her ideas on others, and failed to see her lack of ethics in doing so.

 To understand behaviors and conflict, we need to look at what’s driving the behaviors. The more aware we are of “what makes us tick”, the more aware we will be of what “makes others tick.” This shows we have concern for each other’s feelings. We can control outcomes of our relationships with others. In my work involving team building, workplace behaviors, and employee engagement, I use the Strength Deployment Inventory, ( It’s an indicator of behavior and motivational traits that help predict people’s awareness of how they affect others. (not a personality profile)

 This establishes baseline information for employees, and gives the team members an understanding of what’s behind their inclination towards ethical behavior (or not). Taking ownership and responsibility for our actions is an important piece of the behavior puzzle. When we use “tools” to better understand our behavior, we can take better responsibility. Being more flexible isn’t necessarily the answer, but respecting others’ views will help. What do you do to take responsibility for your behavior and what are the outcomes?


Bonnie Mattick, speaker, author and founder of Unforgettable Outcomes, Intl, creates exceptional experiences for your employees and the customers they serve.  She will show you how to develop highly engaged, productive employees who are innovative in their jobs, and making connections with customers. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the corporate world, as well as working with such diverse clients in the quick service restaurant businesses, banking operations and government agencies.  Bonnie earned an MBA from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas and an M.A. Ed. from Arizona State University.