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In 1912 efficiency expert Ivy Lee met with his prospective client, Charles Schwab who was President of Bethlehem Steel, and outlined how his organization could benefit the company. Lee ended his presentation by saying:

“With our service, you’ll know how to manage better.” Schwab then stated:

“We don’t need more ‘knowing’ but need more ‘doing.’ If you can give us something to help us do the things we already know we ought to do, I’ll gladly pay you anything within reason you ask.”

“I can give you something in twenty minutes that will step up your doing at least fifty percent,” Lee answered.

“Okay”, Schwab said, “show me.”

Lee then handed Schwab a blank sheet of paper and said:

“Write down the six most important tasks you have to do tomorrow in order of their importance. The first thing tomorrow morning look as item one and start working on it until it is finished.”

“Then tackle item two in the same way; and so on. Do this until quitting time. Don’t be concerned if you have only finished one or two. Take care of emergencies, but then get back to working on the most important items. The others can wait.”

“Make this a habit every working day. Pass it on to those under you. Try it as long as you like, then send me your check for what you think it’s worth.”

In a few weeks, Schwab sent Lee a check for $25,000 with a letter stating that he learned a profitable lesson.

After five years this plan was largely responsible for turning the unknown Bethlehem Steel Company into the biggest independent steel producer. Schwab purportedly made a hundred million dollars and became the best known steel man in the world.

~ Author Unknown ~

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