Thursday's Thoughts on Leadership: The One Life Philosophy

Our Thursday’s Thoughts for the week comes from a recommendation from Larry Brackett, a good friend and colleague of mine.  He is the Chairman of Frank Howard Allen Realtors in the North Bay and a member of the Reality Alliance I belong to that meets every 6 months to collaborate on new ideas on how to advance our individual businesses in a Think Tank type setting. Last week, Larry responded to my blog with the suggestion of Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, as a potential topic.  After doing a bit of research, I found that one specific philosophy that Mulally lives by was very much in line with one of mine.

Once dubbed “The Happiest Man in Detroit,” Mulally joined Ford in 2006 after working for Boeing for 37 years.  He lives by a philosophy called One Life which stems from the idea that we decide what we want to do with our life and what we want to contribute to it.  The image of this idea can be seen as a Big Circle with four smaller circles within it, each labeled as “personal life,” “family life,” “work life,” and spiritual life.”    All of these areas come together to create an integrated One Life.

How does he manage all of these different areas of his life?  Each Sunday, his family - Mulally, his wife and his 5 kids - get together for a family meeting.  They plan out their entire week which involves going over who’s doing what, who needs help, and resolving any issues that might arise.  They go through each person’s integrated life to make sure that anything they want or need for the week is built into the calendar.  As I have always said (in fact, it’s #20 in my time management course), “If it is not on the schedule, it doesn’t exist.  Things don’t happen by a specific time.  Things happen at a specific time.”  Doing this together provides a central space for the family to manage all of their lives together.

Mulally also engages in this activity every morning, assessing if what he has on the schedule is really how he wants to spend his time and if it’s really consistent with where he’s going and what he wants to contribute. It’s all about time management.  Making sure his time is spent in the best way possible.

We would all benefit from doing this every morning as well.  Review your goals and your schedule side by side.  Is everything you have on that calendar in line with moving you forward to where you want to be? I’ll leave you with a great clip from Modern Family showing how they use their schedule to get things done.

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