This weekend's homework: A Catalyst for Growth

Let's pickup where we left off last week...

From 1978 into the early 1980’s Lee Iacocca led an effort that saved Chrysler Corporation from bankruptcy. One of the leadership disciplines he credited for helping achieve that success was every Sunday evening he would separate himself from the family to spend two hours in his study.

He was alone. No interruptions. No email. Iacocca credited this weekly discipline as a major reason he was able to stay focused on what was most important each week, and ultimately led the way to achieve his mission: Restore Chrysler’s profitability and market share.

Basically, Iacocca had a map to get Chrysler from where it was to where he wanted it to be.

You also need a map to get you from Point A to Point B, which is where you are today to where you want to be. The discipline of setting aside time to review your map and adjust the routes to your destinations is what I call Sanctuary time.

We teach about Sanctuary in our Time Management training in Dave's Charm School.

The core agenda for Sanctuary follows the acronym “MAP.”

Metrics: Did I meet or exceed all the metrics for my performance this past week?

Adjustments: Where do I need help, should research information, or make adjustments to stay on track?

Plan: What is the plan for the upcoming week? Define a simple W.I.N., which means “What’s Important NOW?”, to accomplish something significant that leads to achieving your major objectives.

I call this time Sanctuary because it is without interruptions. During Sanctuary, you do NOT open your email, instant messenger, or other communication apps. Place your cell phone face down to avoid texts. Do not answer the phone. Eliminate all distractions.


Similar to Iacocca, your big accountability meeting or Sanctuary time is weekly. This might be 20-30 minutes, or up to two hours like Iacocca.

The discipline of Sanctuary time is crucial to your success because little things make a difference.

Consider our Point A to Point B metaphor: What happens if you are just one degree off-course on your map as you are racing ahead with your plans? Is it really that big of a deal?

  • After traveling one foot, you'll miss your target by 2/10 of an inch
  • After 100 yards, you'll be off by 5.2 feet
  • When you are a mile out from your starting point, you'll be 92.2 feet off-course
  • Look at it this way, if your goal is to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles, which is about 400 miles, by the time you reach LA that one-degree mistake lands you 6 miles away from where you want to be

Iacocca is just one of many leaders who have proven the value of a focused, weekly accountability meeting to stay on track with the most important objectives.

Sanctuary time is when you pull out your plan to confirm you are on track to your destination. Being off track typically means you allowed yourself to be sidetracked into less important activities. This eats up your time, energy, and resources, which is deadly to your mission.

Slow down, ask yourself the following questions, and really pause to consider the reality of last week:

  1. Where have I been tempted to take a shortcut or compromise my values this week? Do I need help from someone I trust to stay on track?
  2. Am I doing what I love to do and is my strength, or spending too much time on areas of less interest, related to my weaknesses? Was this past week fun? Am I looking forward to this next week? If not, what needs to change?
  3. Did I meet or exceed the expectations of others for my soft skills as I interacted with them and made commitments?
  4. Was I a great role model for our company culture cornerstones - our mission, vision, and values? Can I state our mission, vision, and at least top-level values from memory? (Do it.) Am I living them out? (If not, why should anyone else?)
  5. Did I recognize people in ways they prefer so they were reminded I value each of them as members of my team? Or, did I hurt someone this week and I need to restore that relationship?
  6. Who did I overlook this week who might need my help? How can I check-in with them in a way that enables them to be candid about their need?
  7. Are there any strategic initiatives that need more of my consideration, including the development of my own habits? When can I schedule “stealth mode” time in my calendar – right now - to do that work uninterrupted?

Daily and weekly Sanctuary meetings for self-accountability are a catalyst for hyper-growth, personally and professionally.

Start this weekend!