I was in an airport bookstore the other day, traveling to one of our workshops, and I came across a book that captured much of my approach to my own business and to helping independent advisors build their businesses. It’s called “The One Thing,” by Gary Keller.
Now before I get a flood of emails calling me out about who this guy is: yes, I know he’s a real estate mogul. And not a real estate mogul like Donald Trump or the late Harry Helmsley, who actually buy and manage real estate. Keller built and owns Keller Williams Real Estate, which he claims is the largest real estate brokerage firm in the country. That is, he motivates people to sell real estate—think Alex Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross. But, despite his pedigree, Keller’s message is perhaps the most important idea that owner-advisors.
So what is the “One Thing?” Based on his own experience, and his observations of other successful people, Keller tells us that contrary to conventional wisdom and the ways that modern society pulls us in dozens of directions, successful people tend to focus—and devote the majority of their time to—becoming really good at just one thing.
Whether it’s selling real estate, becoming an astronaut, playing in the NFL or building a successful advisory business, the key to success is building one’s life around that one objective. Like I said, with children, and spouses, and friends, and hobbies, and Facebook, and YouTube, and email, and Twitter, etc. this is a lot harder than it sounds.
However, to make it somewhat easier, Keller also says that to be successful, we should apply the “one thing” concept to each step of the way toward our goal: to be a successful advisor what’s the “one thing” we should do first? Then, after we’ve mastered that, what’s the next “one thing” we should focus on?” And so on.
My point is that multi-tasking only decreases (a lot) our chances of being really good at any one of the things we do. To be successful, we need to focus on the “one thing” that we need to do now—that will move us in a straight line to where we want to go.
It is more than bit ironic that this is the concept which owner-advisors have the hardest time implementing, considering it’s essentially what financial planning is all about: determining where the client wants to go financially, and then implementing one step after another to get there.