What’s the value of one good idea?

At Truth@Work, an organization with which I am involved, we often ask the question: “What’s the value of one good idea?”

Recently, in listening to a CD coming off my monthly LIFE subscription, I was reminded of a story from Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich which illustrates the “value of one good idea”.

In the early 1900’s, Ivy Lee, called on Charles Schwab of the Bethlehem Steel Company. Lee briefly outlined his firm’s services, ending with the statement: “With our service, you’ll know how to manage better.”

The indignant Schwab said, “I’m not managing as well now as I know how. What we need around here is not more ‘knowing’ but more doing; not ‘knowledge’, but action; if you can give us something to pep us up to do the things we ALREADY KNOW we ought to do, I’ll gladly listen to you and pay you anything you ask.”

“Fine,” said Lee. “I can give you something in twenty minutes that will step up your action and doing at least fifty percent.”

“Okay,” said Schwab. “I have just about that much time before I must leave to catch a train. What’s your idea?”

Lee pulled a blank 3 x 5 note sheet out of his pocket, handed it to Schwab and said: “Write on this sheet the five most important tasks you have to do tomorrow.” That took about three minutes.

“Now,” said Lee, “Number them in the order of their importance.” Five more minutes passed.

“Now,” said Lee, “Put this sheet in your pocket and the first thing tomorrow morning, look at item one and start working on it. Pull the sheet out of your pocket every fifteen minutes and look at item one until it is finished. Then tackle item two in the same way, then item three. Do this until quitting time. Don’t be concerned if you only finished two or three, or even if you only finish one item. You’ll be working on the important ones. The others can wait. If you can’t finish them all by this method, you couldn’t with another method either, and without some system you’d probably not even decide which are most important.”

He went on, “Spend the last five minutes of every working day making out a ‘must do’ list for the next day’s tasks. After you’ve convinced yourself of the worth of this system, have your people try it. Try it out as long as you wish and then send me a check for what YOU think it’s worth.”

The whole interview lasted about 25 minutes. In two weeks, Schwab sent Lee a check for $25,000-a thousand dollars a minute. He added a note saying the lesson was the most profitable he had ever learned. Did it work? In five years it turned the unknown Bethlehem Steel Company into the biggest independent steel producer in the world, and made Schwab a hundred-million-dollar fortune, and the best known steel man alive at that time.

Source: Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich

While this story may be one you have not heard before, the concept of a “must do” list is likely nothing new to you.  We consistently observe that people are more effective and value daily priority list when they use them. So, why highlight “when they use them”?  We’ll let you ponder that question a bit.

So, what’s the value of one good idea?  Is it worth 25 minutes of your time to explore possibilities?  Contact us to set-up a phone call or schedule an appointment where we’ll test the waters.  Like Schwab and Lee, “After you’ve convinced yourself of the worth…send me a check for what YOU think it’s worth.”   Who knows, this brief conversation may be a pivotal time for you and your business.

Have a FANTASTIC day!

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