Friday, November 16, 2007

Why Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Can Do Today

Why Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Can Do Today
by Eva Gregory, CPCC

Ivy Ledbetter Lee was considered to be the father of public relations, even teaching the first PR class at New York University in 1912. He was a consultant for many business moguls of that time: Westinghouse, Lindbergh, Chrysler, and Charles M. Schwab. During his consultancy work for Bethlehem Steel, founded and run by Charles M. Schwab, Lee told president Schwab that, with all Bethlehem Steel accomplished and had to offer, he and his executives should have more effective management skills. Lee told Schwab, “"I can increase your people's efficiency – and your sales – if you will allow me to spend fifteen minutes with each of your executives."

Schwab replied that what Bethlehem Steel employees needed was not to know more, but to work more… but asked Lee how much it would cost him. Lee said, "Nothing, unless it works. After three months, you can send me a check for whatever you feel it's worth to you." Schwab agreed that if Lee could show him and his employees how to do the things they knew they needed to do – and get them done - he would pay any fee that Lee wanted. Lee reiterated, in so many words, that Schwab could just pay him what he thought it was worth when the time comes.

Thus a deal was made: in the span of about a ¼ of an hour, Lee was supposed to be able to give Schwab and his employees a method that would increase company effectiveness by at least 20-50%.

Schwab called a meeting with his executives the next day. Once seated, Lee gave Schwab and the others a sheet of paper and told them to write down the six most important things they had to work on the next day. As they were writing them down, Lee instructed them to do number them in order of importance.

Lee instructed those in the room further: they were to, each morning, pull out yesterday’s list and, at the beginning of their workday, and start working on Item 1 first. Once that was completed, they were to scratch that item out – and proceed to number 2 on the list, and so on – in order. He added that all were to read the list every so often throughout the day, looking at the item to which they were currently attending. Lee told Schwab and his executives not to worry if they didn't complete all tasks on their sheet for any certain day. It was only important that they work on the most important item first, then the next important, and so on – adding that, if this method didn't improve efficiency, nothing would.

Lee finished up by telling Schwab and his employees to spend the last five minutes of every working day writing a new "must do" list for tomorrow’s tasks. They were to follow these steps every day for 90 days.

Lee called Schwab aside after he concluded the meeting and told him, “Try this method out for three months, then send me a check for whatever you think it was worth.”

Just a 15-minute meeting… and no more than 15 minutes a day for employees to write a list!

A mere two weeks later, Schwab sent Lee a check for $25,000 (worth more than $400,000 in today's dollars). He clipped a note to the check. In the note, Schwab told Lee that this was the most profitable business lesson he had ever learned – and that is saying something, considering that Schwab had, in earlier years, worked under financier J.P. Morgan! Over time, following this simple method, Schwab and his executives turned Bethlehem Steel into the biggest independent steel producer in the world, surpassing both U.S. Steel and Carnegie Steel, both for whom Schwab had been president prior to founding Bethlehem Steel. One simple method… and Schwab amassed a personal fortune of $100 million. By the way, in today's dollars, that is equivalent to more than $1 billion! Not too shabby!

So, ask yourself: why put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Make your list of priorities. Tackle Priority One, first. You’ll be amazed at how your productivity will soar!

About the Author:
Eva Gregory, International Coach of the Year 2006, "America's Feel Good Coach", speaker and author of The Feel Good Guide To Prosperity has instructed thousands on the Law of Attraction in person, on the radio and in dozens of teleconference training seminars and programs. She is the author of several books and e-books and has co-developed several telephone-based and internet-based training courses on the Law of Attraction. Her most popular program to date is her Leading Edge Living One Year Success Program. Eva is regularly featured on radio and in the media and is a recognized authority on the Law of Attraction. Her latest book, co-authored with Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen is Life Lessons for Mastering the Law of Attraction. To learn more about her products and services, visit

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