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The 3 Million Dollar List

More than 8 out of 10 people — 84 percent! — don’t plan. Thirteen percent of people do have plans, but don’t write them down. According to a Harvard University study, only 3 percent of people put written plans in place.
The Harvard study also concludes that those who have planned their lives in writing command 10 times the earning power than the 84 percent who don’t make any plans. The 13 percent with plans in their head earn twice the income as the 84 percent who don’t plan at all.

It still amazes me that people fall down on this basic business principle. You can’t succeed without a written daily planner. By planning your day, you’ll be forced to prioritize, so you will get more done — and in the order of importance.
In the late 1800s, a man named Charles Schwab (no relation to the founder of the Charles Schwab Corp.) was general manager of a small steel mill in Pennsylvania: Bethlehem Steel. One day, a Harvard graduate named Ivy Lee walked into Charlie Schwab’s office. Lee was one of the world’s first management consultants.

“Mr. Schwab, I believe our organization can show you how to run your steel mill better,” Lee announced.
Schwab looked at the man for a moment. “I know how to run this steel mill better than I already run it,” he replied, “so I will not pay you a fee to give me more techniques. However, if you give me an idea that will enable me to do more of the things I know I should do, I’ll pay you any reasonable fee.”

Lee thought for a moment. “All right Mr. Schwab,” he answered. “I’ll give you an idea right now that will enable you to accomplish more of the things you feel you should do. When you’re satisfied that it works, send me a check for what you think the idea is worth to your company.”

Schwab agreed, and Lee explained his method of planning, using the numbered priority system. Schwab was, to say the least, disappointed. He’d hoped to learn some sophisticated management system, and all he got was a numbered list. But, he didn’t have a better idea, so he decided to try it.

Three months later, Schwab kept his promise to Lee. In a letter to Lee, he wrote: “Enclosed is our check for $25,000. I wish to state that, from a money standpoint, this has proven to be the most valuable idea in my business experience.”
In a few short years, Schwab built Bethlehem Steel into the world’s largest independent steel manufacturer. Later, he was appointed general manager of the world’s largest company: U.S. Steel. His salary was $1,000,000 per year. Schwab and Walter Chrysler were the two highest-paid men in history.

That $25,000 check would today be worth at least $3 million. With today’s level of sophisticated planning and time management, it’s amazing that 84 percent of business and salespeople stumble around with little productivity. Lack of focus and direction lead to failure at even the most simple tasks, such as returning a phone call.

One of the ground rules in time management is write things down. Why? Because people forget! How many colleagues tell you they don’t need to write things down, because “it’s all up here, baby.” They don’t plan their days, or their lives. How are those people doing? Are they the sales superstars at your station? Are they good at what they do, or are they just mediocre?

If you don’t believe there are sales professionals who fail to write things down, think again. It remains one of the main reasons that any sales team has only one or two superstars.

How many times have you woken up in the middle of the night with the solution to a problem — and can’t remember the details in the morning? Write things down — immediately.

Ed: You can write everything down using the Connect tools on this site: use the Calendar for your appointments, add notes, associated almost any kind of content with any contact in the Client Manager - and print reports tracking everything you thought of with the Reports Wizard. All tools available to Premium users. Click on "Try Connect Premium" at the top of the page for 30 days free, unlimited access.

Robert Reid is president of Strategic Media Sales ( Article reproduced by permission of RadioInk magazine

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