If you’re part of an organization, having a regular huddle or scrum to collaborate, communicate, and hold accountability is critical. But how do you scrum if you’re a solopreneur? In this episode, Ken Courtright shares two productivity hacks every entrepreneur in a one-person company should know. Discover how you can apply these tips for your daily, weekly and monthly goals.
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The 2-Step to 5 Steps
This is episode 145. It’s titled The Two-Step to Five Steps. I’m bingeing on Cameron Herold. I heard and met Cameron at Ryan Moran’s Freedom Fast Lane Event. I was able to take him to lunch and pick his brain for a little bit. My management team, in our first week after Freedom Fast Lane, has absorbed 1/3 of the Double Double audiobook. We’ve already had meetings on it. We are literally going to change a large portion of our practices and align with the book Double Double and how Cameron has built countless companies to $100 million. Partway through the book, I bumped into what Cameron describes as a huddle. We do what’s called a scrum. I was sent pictures of the scrums and there are 25 to 30 people in this huge circle in our office. We have no walls in our office like Cameron describes in the book, Double Double. Everybody’s open space. The desks are wax boards, the chairs are cool and our office is unique. It’s fun.
I’m going through it and I’m listening to how Cameron describes the huddle and I immediately thought, “Cameron would be proud of how we do our scrums every morning.” We get into a big circle and one person starts and they say, “This is what I’m working on today,” and the next person goes, “This is what I’m working on today.” By the time you get to the 4th, 5th, 6th person, some other member of the team, even sometimes in a completely different division, says, “Before you do that, I did that last week. I’ve got a little nugget or tool you can use to expedite that.” By the time we get around the circle, which only takes 15 to 30 minutes, there’s almost always 5 to 10 great tips that were shared that is going to save someone or a whole division, a ton of time and make us a ton of money. I was going through the book and I said to myself, “How does a solopreneur scrum?” “How does an entrepreneur, a one-person upstart scrum?” What do they do? There are two good strategies where a one-person company can scrum a little bit.
This is how it goes. Cameron’s describing in his book an event where Charles Schwab was visited by a gentleman named Ivy Lee and Charles Schwab was being sold some kind of efficiency this or growth this. Charles stopped him and said, “Here’s the deal, Ivy, I don’t need other ideas or other technique. We’ve got tons of ideas. If you can come back one day and in 15 to 20 minutes how we can escalate and fast track the current ideas that we have, I’ll pay you for that. Ivy goes, “As a matter of fact, I’ve got twenty minutes right now. I’ve got a technique that right now can elevate your company moving forward.”Entrepreneurs lack the ability to hold themselves accountable. Click To Tweet
Charles Schwab said, “I’ll tell you what, give it to me. Let’s hear it. I got twenty minutes too.” Ivy pulled out a 3×5 index card, and he said, “Charles, take five minutes right now. What are the five things that you absolutely think you need to get done tomorrow.” Charles took some time, wrote down five things. Ivy said, “Here’s what I want you to do, Charles. You take that index card home tomorrow morning. Put it in your pocket. By the way, you have to prioritize them. Which one should get done first? Which one’s the most important? All you do is every fifteen minutes you stare at number one. When you cross it off, every fifteen minutes, you pull it out of your pocket and you look at number two.” Charles Schwab put this into practice in this business, and in a short period of time, he wrote a check to Ivy Lee, this is 60, 70, 80 years ago for $25,000. Later Charles Schwab said, “This one technique made his company $100 million.”
Number one, everybody reading this might want to try Ivy Lee’s focus scrum. You scrum with yourself and say, “What are the top five things I absolutely have to do tomorrow?” You do this five minutes before you leave your office, go upstairs or whatever you do. The next morning, you do not look at any other to-dos is on your to-do list and you don’t get distracted by email. You start at number one. Every fifteen minutes, pull it out of your pocket and you look at it and you go down. The first thing you can do is a mini scrum. It isn’t a scrum at all, it’s more of an accountability buddy. It’s this piece of paper or this index card and that triggers. The second thing you can do, which is a legitimate one man scrum.
In a quiet setting, you’re going to take out a piece of paper, and I mean quiet, late at night, right before we go to sleep. Not in your office, not at work. On the 28th of the month, when you’re thinking completely sane, I want you to go into a quiet room. It has to be the 20th, 29th or 30th of the month. I want you to sit down with a couple of sheets of paper and I want you to write out five things you absolutely must do next month. What are the five things you have to get done next month? I want them broken down into these categories. One or two of them have to be specific marketing moves you’ve got to make. Not advertising and sale, marketing. If you’re not sure the difference, look it up or listen to some of my older episodes, it has to be marketing. One to two efficiency moves you’ve got to make. How can you get more efficient? A lot of people running businesses now are efficiently ineffective. You want to be efficiently efficient.
One to two moves you got to make in relation to people hiring, firing, praising, one to two people move you’ve got to make next month. Finally, 1 to 2 personal moves. Something to do with my wife, kids, vacation or vegging out and reading books. Cameron calls it personal days. You’ve got to touch all four quadrants. Marketing moves, efficiency moves, people moves and personal moves. One of them, you can do two of them, but here’s what you do. Now you reach out and you find one or two people you respect. It could be your dad, grandfather, ex-coach or pastor. The best one is to get a business mentor.
What you’re going to do is you’re going to call them up and you say, “Would you do me a favor? Would you hold me accountable by being my accountability buddy to the goals I’ve set for myself? All I ask is, could we do a ten-minute call. I promise it will not go one second over. A ten-minute call every Friday, we’re going to do two minutes on my five goals. I’ve got five points. One’s in marketing, one’s in efficiency, one’s that people-related goal and one’s personal.” Here’s how these are going to go. You’re going to talk to your coach or your accountability buddy and you’re going to say, “Number one, marketing, here’s my marketing goal. I’m on track for this marketing goal. Here’s why.” Two minutes on that, “Number two, my efficiency goal. I’m on track for this sufficiency goal or I’m off track for this efficiency goal, and here’s why.” You go ten minutes of you talking and you want to go 5 to 15 minutes and hear what they have to say. They’re going to be taking notes while you’re talking and you go 5 to 15 minutes because you’re taking their time.
Here’s what you’re going to notice. I can almost promise you the first time you do this, you will notice in that first week that 1 or 2 of your points, you’re already slipping on. In 1 or 2 of your points, you’re going to realize, “I’m glad I did this. I’m already slightly off track.” Here’s the key, it’s called getting cooked in the squat. It’s a Zig Ziglar term. If you don’t do the weekly accountability buddy and you think you’re going to manage yourself, you’re fooling yourself. That’s why there are boards of directors, advisory panels and leadership groups. Entrepreneurs and leaders cannot hold themselves accountable. Life doesn’t work that way. We have what’s called adult confidence. We think we are ten feet tall and bulletproof. We don’t take our own counsel.
We think we do. We don’t. Here’s what this is going to do for you, the accountability buddy, when you break it into weeks, is going to put your monthly target right in front of you and it’s going to show you if you’re slipping or if you can press the gas pedal down even faster. That’s when things become a joy and you can start relaxing in the numbers. Here’s my challenge to you immediately get out an index card. Become a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 machine of what you’re going to get done tomorrow. You pull that card out of your pocket every fifteen minutes until number one is done. Stare at number two and then once the five are done, then you can go back to your massive to-do list and maybe finish out a few more that day. If you don’t get them done that day, guess what starts the next day at number one? The one that you didn’t get done.
You’re going to jump into a mentor and you’re going to find somebody that can be your accountability buddy. You’re going to set your own goals, and over time, as they get to know you, they may want to help you set some goals. They may see some things you’re missing, but the point is, in the beginning, you want to be accountable to yourself so you can watch each year be the best year you’ve ever had. See you on the trail. Take care.