S7E04: "What's an 8 or less?"

An episode of The Impact Multiplier CEO Podcast

S7E04: “What’s an 8 or less?”

It's not about having better answers but about having better questions. In this season of The Impact Multiplier CEO podcast, Richard Medcalf and co-host Davina Stanley explore some powerful questions that every CEO, entrepreneur or senior business leader should reflect on. Engage with them fully, and they'll provoke deeper thinking and shift you into a new realm of possibility.

What does it take to move you onto an entirely different trajectory and multiply your impact? And move from incremental improvement to a step change?

In this conversation, you’ll learn:

  • The specific shift in decision-making that all leaders need to make during their career
  • How to perform a 'commitment inventory' - and why it's so important
  • How to overcome the feeling that you're letting people down when you extract yourselves from "8s or below"

"Most people are over-obligated and under-committed."

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Transcript

Davina Stanley
Welcome back to The Impact Multiplier CEO podcast. I'm Davina Stanley and as usual, I'm here with Richard Medcalf today, to continue our season on questions to multiply your impact. These are powerful questions that every CEO entrepreneur or senior business leader should reflect on, engaging them fully and I think they'll provoke deeper and deeper thinking and shift you to a new realm of possibility. Hello Richard, great to see you again.

Richard Medcalf
Hi Davina, yeah, it's been a while since we last recorded an episode. So I'm looking forward to putting you on the hot seat and putting myself on the hot seat once again.

Davina Stanley
Yes, yes. As I said, just before we got started, I'm ready to be uncomfortable. So what have you got for us today? What are you doing today?

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, let's turn the thumbscrews today and so again, these are questions that I think it's really helpful to stop to sit back and reflect on in order to find all sorts of things time margin, energy, motivation, focus, whatever we need and the question for today kind of combines a number of those and it's what's an 8 or less, right? What's an 8 or less?

Davina Stanley
Not an 8 or more?

Richard Medcalf
Well, no. So this is why it's a bit edgy, right? Because it's kind of like, it can be easy to think about, well, what so you know, what, 6 out of 10 or less? Right? And such was an 8 out of 10 or less? Sounds a little bit edgy, right? Because 8 sounds pretty good. So let me give you the background for this. In the first part of our lives, success often comes from saying yes, to almost as many opportunities as we can find and we get kind of often we've had a great career, or we've made a lot of impact is often because we've been good at saying yes, and taking on new challenges. But as a high level leader, the next level often comes from saying no to opportunities, and comes from saying no to things that we're doing and I see that all the time, right in a lot of clients, I work with you, one of the first things you need to do is really clean the decks a bit because they're snuggled up with things which are not the best use of their time, right? They're not the things which are bringing them life or where they're contributing at their highest.

Davina Stanley
And possibly just that there are too many things, even if they're all awesome things.

Richard Medcalf
Right. Yeah, it can can be that as well. But I think there's normally a, there's only this Happy Few right things which are really where we need to be focusing, and they just get diluted by everything else. And if you think about Steve Jobs, when he returned to Apple, you know, he had his massive bloated product line of I don't know how many desktops and laptops and all these other things. And he brought it down to four products, right, a desktop and a laptop for consumers and a desktop and a laptop for professionals. So just draw it all down this, we just do four things, rather than all this messy,

Davina Stanley
Messy set of things. Right there. If we think of the thinking tools, we've been talking about, you know, mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive, yes. To things professionals to things for. I don't know what the term was people at home. nonprovisional. Yeah, yeah. beautiful love. Exactly. 

Richard Medcalf
So you don't miss he just really bogged down. And so many of us know instinctively that our best value is created when we're in their genius zone, right? When we're working on project for interest is fascinators. Where we've got like, we can't stop us. You know, we're kind of reading about it in our spare time, or we you know, we just didn't get paid. We'd love to do this stuff. Right. It's because it's just genuinely fascinating and evolving. And we know that we deliver great stuff in their areas. But I think most of us we are, we're over obligated, but we're under committed. Oh, yeah. So we have all these obligations that we feel we need to do, we should do we're expected to do. But how he really committed to them? No, there are a lot of warts and shoulds in that. And so while we were asked this question was an eight or less and say, Well, what actually are the things which we feel we need to be doing, but actually are not the highest value spare time. And I often I often say to people don't use a seven by eight score when you're scoring something out of a 10. Try not to use number seven, because seven is kind of this magic number. Sounds good syntax. It does sound good. Seven doesn't sound bad, right. But, but it's good. It's not great. Yeah, it's good. It's not great. Yeah, exactly. It's closer to a five into a 10. A seven. I like to say to people, you know, you wouldn't marry a seven normally gets a laugh. Oh, if you say if he said either, if if you know somebody is about to get married, you said, Well, you know, let's get a one to 10. You know, you know, what do you think about your, your future spouse? And if they weren't? Seven? You'd be a bit worried. Right? So are you saying, Well, I'm only about a seven? And she's about a seven? Yeah, well, for me. It's, it's not necessarily subjective, right? It's gonna be a 10. And now, the question of what's an eight or less is a bit edgier, because actually, an eight is a good score. It's a great score. In many ways. It's a 10. Right? It's Yeah. But I think there's a difference. Imagine if you had, you know, imagine the difference between already be great to get projects, which were eight and above, right? only be focusing on those. But think about the difference between, if you're working on things, or an eight and above, or working things that are a nine or above.

Davina Stanley
Now wins. Let's just ask you this. When we I'm thinking, what are you scoring against here? Are you saying how much do I love this thing? Is that why it's an eight? I really like it a lot. What's the eight? What's it measuring? Are you good enough at it? Are you you just like it that much? For me? It's more than

Richard Medcalf
I think it's I think for me, it's it's this intersection between passion and contribution, or passion and impact, right? Because there are things which are really important to be done. But if it's draining you, you're probably not the best person to be doing it. And even if you're neutral towards it, okay, it needs to be done. But perhaps, you know, you'll be able to create it at a higher level if you're able to find a way for somebody else to do that. Yes, yeah. So for me, it's really that sweet spot of, I can't believe I get to do this. And I know that because I'm doing this, everything's gonna change. I'm living the life. I'm doing what I'm doing what I'm here to do. Yeah. And I'm, I'm, it's creating impact. And it's fun and interesting. And I'm learning and I'm pushing myself. So and so I suppose, the way I like to suggest people to look at this is to do a bit of a commitment. I call it a commitment inventory. Permanent inventory is a simple tool, you just take a piece of paper and you you write down what do I do every week? Just for people, what are the things I do every week? What are the things I do every month, every quarter, just kind of right? Just brainstorm a list, look at your diary, look at your tasks list. And there might also be things that you do not necessarily regularly every week, but like for every client that comes along or for every supplier you on board, or every whatever it is, and just kind of get a list and try and stick a number of hours next to it. And then you've got you've got this map eventually, what are you currently having to say yes to? And once you've got that, then then you can start to look at it and go, Well, what numbers would I give these things? What numbers that I give these things? And you're you're just trying to look for the two or three things which really jump out and then the question is, well, what if I was to do just more of that, you know, what would that look like?

Davina Stanley
Yeah, That's fun, that's fun. All right Richard, so what is an 8 for you? What are the things that are on your plate that you scored an eight for?

Richard Medcalf
I'll tell you what those are but what's actually interesting is to think about what's an eight or less? And what are the things where you have to make the hard conversation so I can tell you about my eight SAR, really I mean, getting my higher numbers and my high numbers are it's really when I'm creating content, when I'm connecting with high level leaders, when I am coaching, and that's kind of my my sweet spot. Right? So what I'm doing those three, three things are in my sweet spot. An example of what's perhaps not an eight for me at the moment. What's an eight or less is probably there's a couple of parts, and what are some of my standard processes, engagement methodologies that are a little bit repetitive and they're they're client focused, I mean, engaging with clients on them. I'm like going through certain assessments and things with them but it's a little bit of a repetitive approach. It's always customized to each client and so there's, it's I quite enjoy it. It's not like a it's not a six, probably it's a seven or something like that. But it's Yeah, it's probably not the highest use of my time, and perhaps somebody else could do it equally well, with the clients are that part of methodology. Now, it's not for every client but if there are certain engagements where perhaps I'm not doing WordPress, I'm doing a number of people reviewing their, their assessments or their profiles together. Perhaps that's an example of one where it has been me for every single person that's a mobile, I think I might want to work with a with a colleague to perhaps allow me to step back from that particular task and say something which I quite enjoy. It's still speaking very interesting people and working through issues with them but I just think that's probably one right now for me, where I can look at it and to be honest, I've done quite a lot of purging if you like of my my diary already. I we did we do this current inventory process quite regularly in the business? And I asked me and all my team to do that, like, write down like, how do you spend your week? And what are the tasks you find fascinating and motivating with a task, which you're fine with? What are the ones which are a bit irritating and frustrating? And then yeah, yeah, what do we do about that? And what what shifts to be a great thing to do, and we haven't been as structured about it as you are there.

Davina Stanley
I'm actually seeing three columns in my mind. And I'm going to ask Sheena, just to keep a record on over a week or so of just as she does things, you know, love it. It's okay, really don't love it. Yeah, you know, and just just ask her to jot them down, and we can debrief on it and maybe do it for a week or two, because things can be very varied, you know, in our world, and her role has a lot of, you know, customer service and that kind of thing in it. And I think I can predict what sorts of things she's not going to want to do because she's really good at you.

Richard Medcalf
What's your..

Davina Stanley
Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah, well, I'm like a balance. And so I think for me, part of it is not just what I'm doing, but how much of something I'm doing. And for me, the things that I genuinely love doing can become unpleasant they can become An angel list if I do them too often, as well. So if I do too much coaching, I just find it exhausting. I love coaching. But if there's too much of a funnel exhausting, so, you know, transparently the last few weeks, there's been too much of it. So, you know, I'm tired. But you know, I have a sense of perspective. And that's, that's fine. So, alright, so things that are less than an eight for me, like you, I'm reasonably good at getting rid of them, I just pass them over the fence.

Richard Medcalf
Well, the question is actually an eight all go for an eight. Yeah, but an eight, which is good, but it's not an RV is a bit, I think. 

Davina Stanley
Well, one of the things that I'm finding would be an eight would be running workshops, the same workshop, again, the same workshop program, again, and again, and again, I'm feeling like, I'd like to merge them into, you know, really big groups for the teaching part. And then allow more time for the coaching. So that's, that's one strategy I've been planning and moving towards, so that I can move from an eight to a nine for the teaching component of my work, right, you know, do condense it. So enjoy it and do the right balance of it. And then allow me to work with people in smaller groups, which I love doing. Perfect. So I don't know if that answers your question. But that's a way I'm shifting towards that. And also being able to meet the demand at the moment. Yeah. Other things, eight or less, what other things that eight or less. And as usual, you've put me on the spot, Richard, so I've got to really think, what have I been doing this? there?

Richard Medcalf
Is not a question of any kind. So what is that? doing? Right? What's the Yeah, you know, what's one piece of administration, which you need to get off your plate?

Davina Stanley
One piece is to get scheana access to the bank accounts, she can actually pay the stuff. And, you know, COVID will probably go down to the bank now and actually fill in the forms. But we got started the process before COVID. 

Richard Medcalf
You see, okay, well, we I'm aware that, you know, we could we could talk for a while. But I think, again, the principle here is just really kind of regularly are checking in, well, what's an eight or less, and I say that having the eight there, it's kind of edgy, because eight is not bad. But it's really we have to really push this and really get up into my speed zone. Right? What, what do I need to do? And I think just by observing that regularly, you don't even have to meet it become with a 10 stage action plan. But I think naturally, when you start to just observe the things which are not the highest level of your time, you just start to figure ways out to gradually move away from those.

Davina Stanley
Yeah, I agree with that. It becomes quite natural, doesn't it? Yes. So well, thank you for that. That's certainly put pause for thought yet again. Next time, we'll look at another powerful question for high achieving leaders, which is, how can we make friends with volatility? Any final thoughts, Richard?

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, I guess there can be some resistance in extracting yourself from projects and commitments and when you start to ask this question about what's a low scoring number, you can start to think Yeah, but I might be letting these people down and can I do this and there can be some resistance and some fear but if you think about your greatest contribution, you know, what's the greatest service that I can bring right now into the world and optimize for that, that actually, you can feel confident about eliminating those things that aren't an eight out of 10 and so that idea of really focusing on servicing contribution. For me, it's really helpful because it kind of gets us into a higher cause and we're not just optimizing, for example, just our own sense of what's fun, we're actually thinking about the impact we're making, which allows us to have this bold conversations, you know, I'm sorry, I know I said we could do this. I've looked at my diary. It's really, you know, not a priority for what I'm trying to, you know what I'm here to do, right? Other people can perhaps do this and so it gives you a bit of fuel for those bold conversations.

Davina Stanley
I can see that, beautiful. Thank you for that. So as ever, you can get the details about all of these other episodes season by season at xquadrant.com/podcast. So thanks again, Richard, that's been a fantastic episode. I've really enjoyed it. Thanks so much. We'll see you again soon.

Richard Medcalf
Speak to you soon. Bye now.

**Note: This transcript is automatically generated.
Please excuse any errors.

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