George Ambler

Helping Leaders Grow

blurred city

Keeping Your Goals in Focus

The article “For This Guru, No Question Is Too Big” from the NY Times discusses the work of the best selling business author Jim Collins. Jim Collins the article discussed how he keeps his focus and allocates his time.

“… in a corner of the white board at the end of his long conference room, Mr. Collins keeps this short list:

Creative 53%

Teaching 28%

Other 19%

That, he explains, is a running tally of how he’s spending his time, and whether he’s sticking to a big goal he set for himself years ago: to spend 50 percent of his workdays on creative pursuits like research and writing books, 30 percent on teaching-related activities, and 20 percent on all the other things he has to do.”

This seems to be an odd approach to allocating how to spend one’s time! However, this time allocation suddenly makes sense when you consider Jim Collins “overarching goal,” which is “to produce a lasting and distinctive body of work.”

Besides making wise use of his time in a way that supports his overarching goal, Mr. Collins keeps focused, making sure he is not distracted.

“Mr. Collins also is quite practiced at saying ‘no.’ Requests pour in every week for him to give speeches to corporations and trade associations…”

To achieve meaningful and challenging goals requires “… a willingness to say no and focus on what not to do as much as what to do…”! All leader’s who are passionate about perusing a challenging vision, have to ensure they spend their time wisely and remain focused on their goals. How are you doing?

  • Have you allocated your time in a way that support your overarching goal?
  • Do you say “no” to distractions?



VUCA: Leading in Turbulent Times


The 7 Habits of Purposeful Managers


  1. William Vernon

    This an important topic. Your goals are what lead everything and keeping them in focus may not be easy all of the time. Thank you for the advice!

  2. Life has no meaning without a goal, without a purpose. Everything we do or achieve starts with a dream. Nothing happens until someone gets passionate about their dream.

    Our goals have made us who we are today and what we do today about the dreams and goals we have today will define our tomorrow. I enjoyed this post. Thank you!

  3. Kenneth Vogt

    Jim Collins understands the difference between a goal and a purpose. His focus is on his purpose of creating a legacy. Mere goals can’t hold a candle to that. In fact, such a purpose instructs his goals. It’s why he can say “no” when a big “important” company wants him as a speaker. Power to him, and may we all be more like him in this regard.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén