A leader’s most important role

By October 15, 2009blog

A couple years ago I presented to a business school class at the University of Colorado. I frequently think about this presentation in the context of being a good leader…

I put a glass fishbowl on the table at the front of the classroom and fill it to the top with big boulders. And ask if I can fit any more.
The whole class says “No”.
I pull out a bag of pebbles and fill in the gaps in between the boulders. And ask if I can fit more.
Half the class says “No”.
I pull out a bag of sand and fill in the gaps with sand. And ask if I can fit more.
The class mumbles a bit reluctantly saying “No”.
I pull out a pitcher of water and fill the fishbowl to the top with water.

I ask the class, “What’s the lesson we can learn from this?”
The class responds “You can always do more than you think in your life”

I say “What would have happened if we tried to put the boulders in last? Would we have fit all the boulders in there? No. What are the boulders in your business or in your life that you need to get in first before you fill in your life and time with all these little things?”

This is the image I get when I think about great leaders. They are the ones who figure out the most important boulders first and prioritizes them for their teams. What will create the biggest ROI for the organization? Get those done first, and then do the rest.

For RegOnline our biggest boulders were: 1. how do we get higher up in the rankings for more search terms in Google (accounts for 90% of our new business), 2. How do we make it easier to decide to and start using RegOnline, 3. How do we keep people wanting to use RegOnline

What are the biggest boulders in your organization (or life) that will create the greatest ROI?

Leave a Reply