How Thought Leaders Focus Their Efforts to Have the Greatest Impact

“I want to double my reach and revenue this year.”

I was sitting in my favorite hotel lobby chatting with a client about her goals for her business. “I’d love for you to show me how to think, make decisions and use my time in a way that will make that goal inevitable. Her answer delighted and surprised me!

It delighted me because she was focused on exactly the right things. It surprised me because so often the first thing clients want help with is something like:

  • Improving their messaging
  • Automating their sales with a funnel
  • Creating new offers
  • Growing their list
  • Launching a new content strategy
  • Optimizing their launch

These are all great, but it’s not where you start when planning and building the next level of business growth. This kind of continuous tactical and low-level strategic focus leads to a common problem I call “Frankenstein businesses” that struggle to break through growth ceilings.

Back to the story of my client-

“I’ve become the bottleneck in my business. Something needs to change if I have a prayer of reaching my vision.”

I explained to my client how the concept of create-relate-ideate focus (CRI focus) was a tool that showed her how to remove the bottleneck. We started making a list of specific CRI activities for her to focus on. We also made a list of things for her to ditch or delegate to give her more time for CRI focus. This included a product offer and a content strategy that were costing her more than they were earning in the end.

“What about sales? All the money I make ultimately is a result of me getting on the phone and having sales conversations with people.” I responded by asking her if she thought Tony Robbins did phone calls.

“I guess I see your point.”

I told her it was common for business owners to get stuck doing things they are good at and that feel high value, but that are really just robbing time from their unique genius and CRI focus.

“Oh crud! You’re right. I’m totally doing that.” She was starting to see what it looked like to go beyond thinking and operating like a lifestyle business.

“Okay. What are those higher value things I should focus my time on?” I asked her list all the tasks that went into finding and selling to customers. We put stars next to things that were her unique genius (for CRI focus).

The starred activities included things like…

  • Understand the unmet needs of the marketplace (RELATE)
  • Design and create content for marketing and sales (IDEATE and CREATE)
  • Research and imagine new unique solutions to those problems (IDEATE)
  • Do interviews and speaking engagements (RELATE)
  • Design and create new tools, resources, experiences, products and services for the business to sell (CREATE)
  • Stay up on trends and study new ideas (IDEATE)

She needed to put more time and energy into these things and get others to do everything else…including the sales calls.

“But what about the money that comes in because of sales calls?” I showed her how investing more time into these CRI activities would boost her income enough to hire someone to do sales AND still leave additional profit.

“I don’t know how I didn’t realize that before. But I’m ready to make the changes if you can help me.”

In this post- 3 Things Thought Leaders Do Differently– I explained why a create-relate-ideate focus is the key to maximizing the growth of a thought leadership business. The story above about my client explains what transitioning into a higher CRI focus looks like so that you can:

  • Unlock the next level of income and impact
  • Think and operate like a world-class thought leader (not a lifestyle business owner)
  • Create a lasting legacy with your work

Here are the key takeaways for how to make that leap.

  1. Identify and understand your unique genius
  2. Understand which activities are unique genius and CRI focus
  3. Uncover things you’re doing that are disguised as unique genius activities but that are actually stealing your time and energy
  4. Incrementally delegate activities and adjust your business model and structure to increase your CRI focus

Until you understand and put this process into action, strategic projects like building funnels, creating new products, and launching new content channels will fail to create the growth you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you might make more money. But this is about more than money. The money means nothing if it takes you away from your vision and the work you enjoy most.

Now, keep in mind this is an ongoing process. It doesn’t all happen overnight or even in a single year.  This is an incremental process, but it needs to start today if you don’t want to find yourself trapped in a lifestyle business with your legacy out of reach.

What’s one change you can make to begin this incremental process of aligning your business with your vision?

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