Skip to main content

What’s Your One Big Theme?

| February 21, 2012

by Jim Bruce

Peter Bergman, author of today’s reading – “What’s Your One Big Theme?” – takes time each year at Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year to identify what he wants to change during the coming year.  Others, write New Year’s resolutions.  And, when you think about it, there’s no magic in any particular day.  So today may be your day to identify your one thing to work on until you’ve nailed it.  And, then as a leader striving to be better, you identify a next one thing.

Bergman, author (18 Minutes:  Find Your Focus), and strategic advisor to CEOs and their leadership teams, starts by making three lists:

1.  What went well during the past year.

2.  What he wants to repeat.

3.  What he really wants to do differently.

Once you have the data, the usual approach would be to identify a number of things to turn into resolutions – exercise more,don’t multitask, arrive at work on time, spend more time with the family, …  The list is virtually endless.  Then you select a few of the items and develop plans.  If you have ten things you are working to change, you have ten plans and you probably wont make too much headway.  It’s just too hard to keep up with all these goals.

Having done this for years, Bergman decided to take a different approach.  He stepped back and looked at the list from a broader perspective – what’s this all about?  What are the underlying major themes?  Is there one thing that if you acted on it you would see major improvements in a number of areas?

For Bergman the theme was “I’m moving too fast.”  The thought was that if he slowed down a lot of things would get better.  And, they did.

What’s good about “one thing”?  It’s easy to remember, easy to implement, it’s achievable, and sustainable.  In short order, it becomes what you automatically do.


So, give it a try.  .  .  .    jim