Yesterday I posted about how leaders and readers and I posted my 2011 reading list earlier in the week. I intentionally focused this summer/fall and read several books on leadership, productivity systems and processes. Two of those books made it to my top 5. It’s interesting though that several themes popped out among several of the books, things that significantly impacted me. I’d like to share those things with you here.

Less truly is more

Two books I read referenced Pareto’s Law on multiple occasions. Most of us are familiar with this law. It is why only 20% (or less) tithe and support your church. It’s why only 20% (or less) tend to volunteer and support your ministry. It says that 20% usually accounts for 80% of the results. What I never realized before is that this law applies to my work as well. When I look at my list of things to do, about 20% of the things on that list will likely produce 80% of the results. However, when I procrastinate, I tend to spend my time knocking off the easy things that don’t produces heavy results. Ferriss from the Four Hour Work Week goes to the extreme of saying that you should really only have 2-3 things on your task list every day. Everything else should be eliminated or delegated. This principle is really what Eat That Frog is all about. Good stuff.

Systems are critical

Almost every book, but more specifically the E-Myth Revisited, The Checklist Manifesto and the Four Hour Work Week address this whole concept of systems. As a leader, if I don’t develop good systems, my results will always be inconsistant. When I have good systems, systems help keep everything running regardless of my people. Systems are what typically make great businesses great. Great systems are what get leaders out of the weeds, allows them to easily delegate and get to work on strategic things. Systems aren’t just for the administratively gifted… but for everyone who desires to lead… and the more you lead, the more systems become critical.