Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The $25,000 Idea

Sometime between 25-40 years ago I first heard this story. It might have been when I was a fledgling life insurance salesman in the Chicago Loop or it might have been after I moved to Denver in 1970. Or maybe it was during Win/Win Forum days in the early 1980s.

"There once was an efficiency consultant named Ivy Lee, who had a meeting with the president of a small steel US steel company. During this meeting the president explained to him that he felt that his company had the knowledge and skills it needed to move forward, but he thought they were lacking when it came to "getting things done". The reason he had requested to meet with Mr. Lee was because he hoped that he could provide him with a solution to this problem.

"After listening to the presidents thoughts, Ivy Lee said that in less than 15 minutes he could show him how to accomplish his goal if he agreed to try the solution for at least a couple of weeks and then to pay him what he thought the idea was worth. The president happily agreed and Ivy Lee gave the following advice:

"Each day, at the end of the day, take out a sheet of paper. Write down the six most important things you have to do the next day. Then rank those items in the order of importance. When you come in the next morning, take out the paper and start with item 1. When you have finished that item, move on to number 2 (and so on down the list). If you can not complete an item because of external factors, skip it and move on to the next one. At the end of the day make another list of the six most important items you have to do the next day....

"After the meeting, which hadn't lasted more than 30 minutes, the president started using this system on a daily basis. After a short period of time he saw a dramatic increase in the efficiency at which he was able to get things done, so he passed this idea along to his department managers and asked them to pass it on to others within the company.

"A few weeks later, Ivy Lee received a letter from the steel company president thanking him for his advice that included a check for $25,000. Thus this simple idea has become known as 'The $25,000 Idea'.

"It is said that years later the company president commented that this was the best investment he had ever made, and that this single idea had a serious contribution to the companies growth from a small firm to an industry leader."

Thanks to for today's copy of this story. Put it to work today for you.

No comments: