How Can I Be More Effective?

How can I be more effective?  Is there a road-map I can use to improve my effectiveness?  What system or process does Jeff Marmins evangelize?  I hope to address these questions by establishing an amalgamation of ideas as a premise for *most* of what my ramblings are about here at

Time has shown that no one philosophy works for everyone.  We are all a work in progress, attempting to execute and learn concurrently.  I have a passion for examining ways to improve processes for efficiency in sales and relationship management. That kind of “workflow improvement” finds its way into other aspects of my life.  I also made my share of mistakes in years past that push me to learn and encourage effectiveness through character, values and principles.

Core Values as the driving force to an improved level of effectiveness

This model is the root of the “system.”
Driving Forces of Effectiveness


The model states that time-tested values such as  Vision, Identity, Purpose, Order, Concentration, Integrity, Harmony and Progression drive effectiveness to your desired level.  Each of these can be explored with some depth.  I’ll address each individually in separate posts. Collectively, they combat “resisting forces” like, “Too many things to do, Fatigue, lack of purpose, not enough money, not enough time, mental fragmentation, etc.”

These same core values, and the idea of Quadrant II time management, became the underpinnings of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, coauthored by Roger Merrill and Stephen Covey.  The teachings of Merrill and Covey are the foundation of being an effective human.
Covey’s teachings include planning strategies with a constant connection to one’s mission statement, which is formed by first identifying your own governing values.  Understanding your governing values you then identify your roles in life and create a mission statement.  NOTE: A role describes an area of responsibility in your life. For example, a common role for many people is “parent”.
Mission statement
This helps answer the “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” questions – giving you something to connect your daily life’s activity to.  Once values, roles and a mission are clear you can then set goals and plan accordingly.  Easy, right?  Not really.
What a brief summation of an outside-in approach!  It takes much practice!  Revisiting your mission and connecting to it on a daily basis, thus focusing on your true priorities, is a byproduct of weekly planning.  Weekly planning requires that you address major projects and milestones for each of your roles.  This is where all the principles come in!  Actually achieving success requires Order, Concentration and so on.  I can assure you that my role as a father can conflict with getting to my friend role and picking up the phone to make a check-in, “How’s it going call.” (Sorry Trevor!)
Getting Things Done(GTD)
As much as I love talking about principles and values, they’ll only get you so far.  I also subscribe to David Allen’s system, Getting Things Done(GTD).  This is something I’m learning more about, especially combining it with a “Covey-esque-bent.” Mr. Allen’s system is specific in terms of creating a sense of order through a 5 step organizing process for all information:
1. Collect (use an in-box)
2. Process (use to do lists)
3. Organize
4. Review
5. Do.
GTD uses the psychological process, distributed cognition, the idea is to
use the system for the everyday (Quadrant I and III – see below).  Covey_merrill Quadrant Effectiveness matrixgif
This means the “to-do” list.  You make progress through execution and liberate your brain.  Trusting that the system works.  It provides a depository for
details and a clear methodology for follow-up.  What I like most about this is it frees your mind to think, plan, clarify values and build relationships.  You are able to stay in Quadrant II (Important but not urgent) – the leadership quadrant according to Covey.  It requires a weekly review period that dovetails well with Covey’s weekly planning. Check out a David Allen YouTube Video here.

I want to talk about David Allen and Stephen Covey more but I have to add two important elements to round out an overarching ideal.


The first is Generosity in relationships.  Being sincere about who you are.  Learning your passion and putting it to work.
 Connecting people to your E_Chinese_Symbols_Proverbs_Generosity goals.  Mentoring wisely.  These are ideals most recently evangelized by friend Keith Ferrazzi in his best selling book Never Eat Alone.  The book became dogma for his consulting practice ferrazzigreenlight and the online Greenlight community. I believe, and Ferrazzi suggests, that none of us can get to our optimum level of effectiveness (or happiness) by ourselves.  We all need help and therefore have to give it. I know I feel great when I help someone else.  This is a critical piece and obviously requires quality character.  You have to set aside, “What’s in it for me.” It’s not about trading favors.  It’s about helping others.  Some may relate this to good karma and the universe paying you back.  Here’s Keith on YouTube talking about relationships.

Physical Health

The second is physical health.  You have to have energy to be fully engaged in your activity.  Just ask Jim Loehr, co-founder of Human Performance Institute. Jim says that you have to connect your body and your health to your mission.  No surprise how this connects to a philosophy centered on values! Loehr’s idea for getting your ass in shape and staying there is ritualistic.  You determine your own “Training Mission” Goal.  Corporate fitness You then buy into the fact that appropriate rest, physical fitness (cardio and weights) and following strict nutrition guidelines, will give you energy and help you sleep better.  Ya think that might be true?  Here are the Nutrition and Movement Guidelines from the Human Performance Institute.
Most interesting to me about the Human Performance Institute approach is that you have to first, “Face the Truth.”  You are measured and evaluated, blood, body-fat and completed questionnaires from your family, friends and co-workers.  With this, the Institute scores you and helps you formulate the series of rituals to help you achieve your goal.
I can’t wait to talk about this with you more.  Let’s help each other have a mission that we connect to physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally – every day.


  • Glad to see someone talking about the need to merge an effective action approach (GTD principles) with the top-down Covey-type vision. An approach called Total, Relaxed Organization does this, subtly blending these and other approaches into a simple system.
    See here for an free/inexpensive new online training system for TRO (disclosure: my company) that teaches this approach customized for a user’s choice of tools:
    I hope this helps some of your readers.

  • Kevin – thanks for the comment. The TRo approach looks interesting.

  • Thank you for your help!

  • That is very interesting. It provided me a number of ideas and I’ll be writing them on my web site soon. I’m bookmarking your site and I’ll be back. Thanks again!

  • […] Acting out of principle day-to-day takes the vision to see the outcome before you get there.  Often the better road is the harder one. The best of the best are still “failing” at the plate most of the time they’re there.  You have to visualize and you have to get up to bat. […]

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.