Less things, better

Good board members don’t ask, ‘Why are we making orange sneakers. Good board members ask, ‘should we be making sneakers?’

That quote is from a talk I heard recently by Kevin Plank who is the founder and CEO of Under Armour. It’s been in my head ever since.

April is an interesting time in startup land. In board meetings we reflect on how the first quarter went. Did we hit our goals: what worked and what didn’t work. Did we even have the correct goals to begin with and discussions about what we want to accomplish for the year.

We do this at our firm as well. We have an offsite once a quarter to discuss the very same things.

It’s a great way to step out of the day to day and take an honest look at ourselves.

When I see a company (including ours) falling for the, “here are the 10 things we need to do this year”, an obvious question surfaces. Why so many things? We would be better served if we identify the absolute most important things and do those things exceptionally well.

I have also been thinking about this approach in my personal life. At the start of the year I wrote down a bunch of things I wanted to work on in my personal life. The list looked like this:

1. Family

-more time with Lauren

-get home for dinner

-coach kids sports

-help Sophia with college planning

-help Ellie with high school search

-plan family travel for the year

-be a better listener

-more time for parents

2. Personal

-run more/sign up for half marathon

-meditate more

-personal photography project

-real estate project

3. Friendships

-make more time for close friends

4. Work

-be a better board member

-Spark stuff (annual meeting, new funds, new people, culture etc)

-make 1–2 amazing new investments

So now I’m looking back at my personal Q1 list and thinking about how it’s going and how the year is looking. And I’m thinking I need to do less things and pick the ones that are most important.

Maybe we all do.