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The Relenta CRM blog

“Plan Ahead”: Why Charles Schwab paid $25,000 for this advice

"Plan ahead, Chuck."

Almost a century ago, Charles Schwab owned the Bethlehem Steel Company, which was struggling with inefficiencies. Consultant Ivy Lee agreed to assist. Schwab would pay Lee whatever he felt the advice was worth after three months.

His advice? (Drum roll, please.)

At the end of the day, each member of the management team was to write a to-do list of the six most important tasks for the next day, then prioritize them. The next day, they were to work on those tasks one at a time, starting from top to bottom. They could not start the next task until the previous one was finished. Any left over at the end of the day would be added to the top of the next day’s list. Then they would round out that list with additions to keep it to six.

After three months, efficiency had increased so much that Schwab paid Lee $25,000 for this advice. (A century ago!) We think it’s still pretty valuable advice.

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