Top Five List

Ever gone to a great seminar, workshop or group meeting and come away with a ton of great ideas and an even bigger to-do list than when you went?

Bet it happens all the time. Am I right?

And when you come home excited to share with the whole team at work all the fantastic new ideas you’ve learned about and want to put to work at your company, your employees just cringe.


They’re left out of the process is why. Plus, they know you. You get fired up about the latest and greatest thing and everything else is thrown in the “mental dumpster”. And off you go on the next rabbit chase.

The problem is another great idea will pop up that you feel is even more urgent in what I call the “entrepreneurial seizure” moment that flares up all too often in a bad way. Well, having made it part of my Planning Power! work with companies for 15 years, I have the company allow me to do private 1-to-1 conversations with their staff and the overwhelming response to this type of thing is they hate it and they hate you when you do this.

Now, some of this is because people resist change. And of the many reasons they resist change even when they hate what they currently have is that change represents something different and that represents the unknown. Change is scary.

What changes this dynamic at companies I’ve worked with is changing how we begin to introduce change in a systematic way in what I call Planning Power!. In a nutshell this is:

  1. Working on the right thing
  2. At the right time
  3. In the right way

So, where do you start? You start at the Master Project List. This is like the top of a funnel big and wide and it’s where you and your team take all the great ideas you have about how to make your company run better, make more money and just be less stressful…. maybe even fun. This list is a combination of both projects and habits.

Ex: A project would be something like taking charge of the warehouse with things like what you stock, how you stock it, locking up access to it and fixing the tech trucks stock replenishment process.

Ex: A habit would be implementing Steps of Corrective Action so there’s a methodical process for disciplining staff in a better and more consistent way.

What’s next in the journey to working on the right thing, at the right time in the right way is the creation of The Top 30 List.

The Top 30 List is what you get when you use an imaginary strainer on your big Master Project List that’s at the top of the funnel. This allows you to prioritize what projects or habits would do one of these two things:

  1. What you’ve selected will fix your biggest problem or challenge
  • Ex: The Techs drive 30 minutes from your shop and they lack the knowledge, and/or the truck is not setup correctly to handle the work they encounter
  1. What you’ve selected will provide you with your biggest chance to grow and be profitable
  • Ex: You don’t have enough quality calls for your techs so your marketing needs to be expanded, improved or both

The Top 30 is what you’d seek to get done in one year’s timeframe.

BUT, you can’t work on 30 things at a time, so you need to once again use the strainer on this list to arrive at your Top Five #1 List.

The Top Five is what gets posted on a whiteboard for all to see and it has three columns:

  1. What we’re working on
  2. Why we’re working on it
  3. The status of what we’re working on

The promise is that if it’s a Top Five, no matter how crazy your week is, a portion of your time and energy is spent working on this list because you said it’ll make the biggest difference in fixing problems and challenges or provide the greatest chance to grow and be profitable.

Focus on bringing the Top Five to fruition vs. jumping from one random “latest and greatest” idea or program that doesn’t ever get implemented or implemented correctly.

The staff knows what we’re up to, why we’re doing it and they will hold us accountable to getting it done…as they should. This is really big for everyone.

The best part is that my clients who have done this over the years have found that their employees have great ideas that they want to get on the Master Project List, Top 30 and ultimately Top Five because they want to help if given the chance to do so.

Al Levi teaches contractors how to run their businesses with less stress and more success with operating manuals. To get control of your business and grow the right way, get The 7-Power Contractor® Signature Operating Manuals System at today.

More Ways to Become a 7-Power Contractor

The 7-Power Contractor book lays out 7 simple business powers to help you run your business with Less Stress and More Success. And now, it's available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook.

The 7-Power Contractor® Signature Operating Manuals System provides you with 90% completed manual templates plus step-by-step instructions on how to edit them, roll them out, and train with them.

The 7-Power Contractor Radio is a podcast series hosted by Al Levi in which he shares insights on how to better run your business. Listen wherever you are.

Connect with Al

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our cookie policy: privacy policy