If you haven't read The One Thing by Jay Papasan and Gary W. Keller, I encourage you to put it on the top of your list. After reading the book, I incorporated the lessons I learned into my startup and saw amazing results.

I had the chance to ask Jay Papasan some of the follow-up questions I had after reading his book. Here are some of the key insights I took away from our interview:

1. Have a team member whose one thing is getting clients.

Jay is an adviser for many companies, and has seen this trend over and over again. So many companies become focused on building a product without any concern for how they are going to sell it. This causes the founders to settle for awful valuations and constant fundraising rounds. By the end of the company, the owners don't even have a high enough stake in their business to stay motivated.

To avoid this, have someone in your company who is just responsible for bringing in business. One of the ways Jay has been so successful in real estate is by putting a lot of focus into lead generation. As Jay says, "If you don't have leads for your business, you don't have a business."

2. Have a vision, but break it down

A constant battle Jay deals with when speaking to companies is making them believe that they can reach huge goals like $100 million in revenue. To make the point stick with your team, you need to break down the giant goal. So to get to $100 million, ask your team if it'd be possible just to get to $8 million in revenue in 12 months. A big goal, but it's definitely possible. If your team members push back, ask them if they know any companies that have been able to achieve those numbers in 12 months. When they list companies, ask how they did it. Over time, it'll make your team see that it is possible.

This brings up the point of the domino effect. Huge goals can be achieved by making small habit changes in the beginning. We started incorporating small habit changes into Alumnify and saw great results. What if you had someone cold-call 100 customers every day? Maybe you could even try going door to door to get sales. If you need help making those habits, use the 66 day calendar and follow it religiously. When you get to the 66th day, you'll be programmed to do it automatically. The point is those small tasks over time lead to much greater results.

3. People think they can multitask when they can't

One of the greatest objections Jay gets from people trying to adopt The One Thing into their lifestyle is that they still think they can multitask. Unfortunately, data disagrees with you. Multitasking is consistently shown to reduce productivity. Still, people continue to think they can constantly check their phone or text and still be just as effective at work.

To combat this, use time blocks. Block out time when you need to achieve your one thing, and make sure no one will bother you. Put away the phone and go to a place where there are no distractions. You'll be more productive then ever. Also, because you've blocked off that time, people will adjust to your schedule. You'll start getting more and more done, and everyone will think you're superhuman. In reality, you just made a small change, but it's the small habit changes that we make that lead to our success.

Published on: Oct 29, 2014