I was working with a company not long ago where the president was trying to figure out why some of his employees were so much more productive than others.

They’d just introduced some new, transparent scoring metrics showing the different effectiveness levels of everybody on the team. 

Those who weren’t scoring well were burning themselves out trying to catch up, but no matter how hard they worked they couldn’t catch up. And those who scored well certainly weren’t working 10X as hard.

I pointed out to the president (and the team) that the horse that wins didn’t work 10X harder in horse racing–it often wins by a nose.

So what does lead to those 10X results?

If you look at what the “experts” have to say on social media, you’d think that the only thing you need to do is more and more of that, and then more of that.

But is it? 

Think about the classic kid’s toy, the Rubik’s Cube. 

It has trillions of possible states that it can be in, but only one is “solved.” And yet, learning to solve it is a process so simple that a child can understand it. It’s not about being 10X smarter–it’s just about knowing what to do, in what order. (Just look on YouTube at the hundreds of tutorials teaching kids how to solve the cube!)

Superstars aren’t the ones who work 10X harder than their peers. Instead, they’re the ones who recognize where the highest and best use of their time and efforts are and consistently apply themselves in those areas. 

That’s the secret if there ever was one. Bringing it back to the Rubik’s Cube is that the ones who can “solve” it aren’t more brilliant, and they didn’t work harder….

What they learned was the right process, and then followed it every time. 

In sales organizations, for example, the superstars aren’t the ones who are supernaturally personable. They’re not the ones who work 14 hour days. They’re not the ones who are incredibly brilliant. Of course, these traits help, but the world is littered with failed salespeople who are brilliant, charming, and hardworking. 

The superstars are the ones who recognize the MOST IMPORTANT elements of their sales process and discipline themselves to do ALL of the critical work. 

This will be different from industry to industry, but there are some generalizations we can make: 

1. They are the ones who follow up with their clients after the first sale and maintain a relationship. 

2. They are the ones who ask for referrals regularly. 

3. They are the ones who identify the “gaps” between what they offer and what their clients are buying and present compelling cases as to why the client should be buying more from them. 

4. They are the ones who take the time to role-play high-value opportunities, to ensure they understand the ways that their proposal may be lacking or be able to “Make those skeletons dance!” when a prospect brings up a likely objection.

There are other elements, of course, and it’s not the case that successful salespeople have to do everything. However, they have to identify the core elements that they can bring the highest value and commit to doing all of those. 

Too often, we see salespeople (and employees in general) who allow themselves to get bogged down by urgent but low-value work, cutting into their ability to hit every element that’s required. And when that happens, they don’t just cost themselves 10% or 20% effectiveness–they’re cutting their earning potential by 80-90% or more. 


Take a look at some of the most critical areas of your business and try to identify what’s made the most significant impact. 

Write down the top 1-3 things that impact your sales and lead generation efforts, revenue generation, your client experience, or your retention efforts, etc. That’s it.

The top 1-3 things in each area have the most significant impact on your business results. 

Now, ask yourself if you’re truly spending your time on the highest priority areas and doing them consistently well or filling your time trying to haphazardly 10X everything. 

I can almost guarantee it’s not about doing “more, More, MORE!” but rather, doing the right things well, consistently well, 99% of the time. 

Remember, winning by a hair–is still winning!