Alligators, Moats and Business Development

I was speaking with one of my clients today, and we were talking about finding time for business development in the course of a busy day.  I think I remember hearing a fable from Stephan Covey when he makes the distinction between urgent and important tasks.  Its  great little story about the pressure that our businesses exert us on an ongoing basis.

  • Important Tasks activities have an outcome that leads to us achieving our goals, whether these are professional or personal.
  • Urgent Tasks  activities demand immediate attention, and are usually associated with achieving someone else’s goals. They are often the ones we concentrate on and they demand attention because the consequences of not dealing with them are immediate.

Back to alligators and moats.   A person built a castle near a swamp.  The swamp was infested with alligators.  The person who built the castle needed a way of building a moat to protect his castle from the alligators.  The alligators advanced every day to the castle.  One day that person who built the castle decided to build a moat to permanently protect the castle from the menaces that plagued his castle.  There was a problem.  If he simply ran out and shoveled the ditch for the moat,  he would have been eaten by the alligators.  If he just whacked the alligators he would never be able to build his moat.

So he came up with a plan.  Hit one alligator with the shovel,  then dig one shovel of dirt.    Your alligators are your urgent tasks, and your moat is the important tasks.  As you schedule your day make sure that you schedule both.  However at some point your have your moat built, and you will be able to enjoy yourself, and protect your castle.

The problem that people do not schedule their “magic hour” and they get caught up in the “day to day”.  You can do it…go grab your shovel.  BTW,  no animals were harmed in the making of this blog post 🙂

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