Book Summary: The Great CEO Within

Great read, full of bite-size concepts and tactics to guide you on your company building journey. This books serves as a field-guide to anyone looking to learn to be more effective in their personal and professional lives.

In this post I’ll share some of the bite-sized gems from the book The Great CEO Within, by Matt Mochary.
All content credit goes to the author. Topics are focused on Individual Habits:

  • Getting Things Done
  • Inbox Zero
  • Top Goal
  • On Time and Present
  • Gratitude and Appreciation
  • When You Say it Twice, Write it Down
Book Cover: The Great CEO Within

The Power of Individual Habits

Great companies are made up of great individual performers who work well together as a team. As CEO, you are both the architect of the culture and the central hub in the wheel of information flow that enables the team to function effectively.

  • Your example inspires your team, and your efficiency determines the efficiency of the team.
  • Therefore, the first thing to optimize is yourself.

On Getting Things Done

The essence of David Allen’s system is this: Each day, process every single item in your inbox and all to-dos. If the action takes less than two minutes to complete, do it immediately. If not, then write down what the required action is, and place it on one of the following lists:

  • Next Actions: next tasks on your priority list, separated into areas of context
  • Waiting For: things that you have asked others to do and are waiting for them to complete
  • Someday/maybe: Things that you one day want to do but don’t need to get done now.
  • Agenda: list of regular meetings with items you want to discuss
  • Projects: list of projects that you have more than one next action that can only be done after the other (Serially)
  • Goals: list of vision and objectives to reference when reviewing your next actions list
  • Review: your pace for reviewing the lists above
    • Daily: Next actions, waiting for, and goals
    • Weekly: someday/maybe, agenda, and projects

Use your calendar to schedule next actions that need to happen on a certain day or a certain time.

On Inbox Zero

It’s critical have a thoughtful methodology for dealing with all the messages, email, texts and requests we get on a daily basis…

  • Think of your combined inboxes as a single triage room at a hospital.
  • To be efficient, you must address all the urgent cases right away and maintain inbox zero every day.

On the Top Goal Framework

You need a framework to ensure you are working on your important, long-term priorities:

  • Schedule two hours each today (i.e. put an event in your calendar) to work on your top goal only. And do this every single day. Period.
  • The earlier in the day you schedule this top goal time, the better… Do the important stuff first.

Being On Time

It is critical to be on time for every appointment that you have made or to let others involved know that you will be late as soon as you realize it.

  • There is no winning scenario when you waste someone’s time.
  • Let others know you will be late as soon as you realize that you will be.

Being Present

Being present means that you are composed, prepared, and focused on the subject matter.

  • Don’t check your messages. It sends a message that the meeting’s content is relatively unimportant.
  • Leave your phone in your pocket or facedown.

When You Say It Twice, Write It Down

Whenever you find yourself saying something for a second time (to a second audience or in a second situation), it is highly likely that you will end up saying it again and again in the future.

  • To vastly improve the quality of communication and reduce the amount of time that you spend communicating the information, write it down.
  • Encourage others in your company to do the same and, if appropriate, share through a company-wide wiki.

On Practicing Gratitude

We perform our best when we are having fun and feeling good about ourselves.
So how do we take advantage of this knowledge to generate a good feeling in ourselves? Ask the right question:

  • “What is good about this situation?”
  • “What is good about this team member?”
  • “What is good about my company?”
  • “What is good about my life?”

Or we simply fill in the overarching statement “I am grateful for __”.

  • Be as specific as possible.
  • Detail names of people, actions they did and so on.

On Appreciation

Appreciation is simply an outward extension of gratitude.

  • When receiving appreciation, there is only one correct response: “Thank you”.
  • The person is trying to make you feel appreciated. Anything other than “thank you” will rob them of their goal.

In Conclusion

Don’t be fooled by how simple some of the concepts might be. Simple habits paired with disciplined practice and consistency, lead to a lifetime of peak performance.

I hope you enjoyed the post. Cheers ’till next time!



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