Do a Few Things Great, Cast Everything Else Off (Tim Cook)

Tim Cook, Apple CEO

In a recent “All Things Digital” interview from the D10 conference, new Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “Learned focus is key, both in products and in your personal life. Do a few things great, cast everything else off.”

The temptation to be good at many things often keeps us from becoming excellent at a few things. Because I’m a very curious type of person, I like to learn a lot about everything. With limitations on time and attention, however, it is important to keep focused on my core competencies.

In a Marketing course I took during college, we often discussed why there is only a Union Pacific Railroad, and not a Union Pacific Airline, Cruise Line, etc. Often professors would point out Union Pacific lost opportunities in other transportation venues. At the time it made sense, but now I see greater wisdom in UP’s focus on railroad transportation.

UP has a clear mission:

Union Pacific is committed to be a railroad where
our customers want to do business,
our employees are proud to work,
shareholder value is created and
the safety of the public and our employees is our top priority.”

And to that mission, they have done well.

What are your key competencies? What do you do well vs. what do you do daily? In goal setting what you choose to no longer do is just as important as what you choose to do new, better, or differently in the future. It also creates many great opportunities for others when you outsource things that distract you from achieving greatness.

Learn: Take and inventory of where you spend the majority of your time daily.

Act: Decide what you will no longer do and if you will simply stop doing it or outsource it to someone else.

Share: Talk through the process with a trusted friend, spouse, etc.

 

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