I had lunch with a very successful entrepreneur last week who told me he thought he was operating at 40% of his potential. He was looking for leverage to drive that number to 80%. I’m certain the world would be quite a different place if he were twice as effective. Imagine if we were all twice as effective…
leverage |ˈlev(ə)rij, ˈlēv(ə)rij|
verb [ with obj. ]
1 (usu. as adj. leveraged) use borrowed capital for (an investment), expecting the profits made to be greater than the interest payable: a leveraged takeover bid.
2 use (something) to maximum advantage: the organization needs to leverage its key resources.
He shared a few of his observations on maximizing his leverage. It’s all about focus.
- Know your goals/questions for each meeting, coffee and lunch ahead of the meeting. Take meetings only with known and transparent goals. Aim to end the meeting 15 minutes early.
- Cultivate and curate your network. Build friendships and working relationships with the right people.
- Manage your time religiously. Schedule meetings back to back. Allow yourself 4 hour blocks to do work or just to think, without intermittent interruptions.
- Focus on 3 things each day/month/quarter that move the needle. Be open and transparent with your team about what those are. Jettison everything else. It’s a distraction.
The larger a startup becomes, the more internal communication and status updates become the norm. Google fought this with radical transparency. Everything was accessible to everyone. Apple fights this with total opacity – teams operate on a need to know basis. Such decisions dramatically change culture, but both are pursuing the same goal of maximizing leverage.
A startup’s greatest advantage is agility and focus. By focusing on few things done really well, a startup becomes highly leveraged and effective.
How do you gain leverage in your work life?