One of Dale Carnegie’s students, one H. P. Howell, told him that when Howell was a member of the board of directors of U.S. Steel, the meetings of the board were often long, drawn-out affairs—many problems were discussed, few decisions were made. The result: each member of the board had to carry home bundles of reports to study.
Finally, Mr. Howell persuaded the board of directors to take up one problem at a time and come to a decision. No procrastination—no putting off. The decision might be to ask for additional facts; it might be to do something or to do nothing. But a decision was reached on each problem before passing on to the next.
Mr. Howell told Carnegie that the results were striking and salutary: the docket was cleared. The calendar was clean. No longer was it necessary for each member to carry home a bundle of reports. No longer was there a worried sense of unresolved problems.
This is a good rule to follow, not only for the board of directors of U.S. Steel, but for you and me. Try it for yourself first—deal with each problem or task you come upon during the day immediately, before moving on to the next. Then incorporate the same strategy for your teams and meetings and watch how much more productive everyone becomes.
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