A true story. Once upon a time, a 56-year old man died of a heart attack. He had spent 25 years building a construction company to about $10 million in annual sales. He unfortunately smoked, drank, ate poorly, and did not bother with exercise. This led to his early death.

His wife, who was about 50, was a career housewife. She knew little about her husband’s business. Now she was the owner. After the funeral, she went to the company and sat the managers down. “Please tell me how this business works and how we make money around here?” she said.

The managers soon realised that she was serious. They took her around the business and explained each activity of the company in great detail, how it worked, and how much it contributed to profit or loss.

Her management style was simple. She would ask, “What’s working?” and “What’s not working?” If it were working – if it were successful and generating profits – she would encourage the managers to invest more time and people in that area. If it was not working, she would help the managers discontinue that area of activity and reallocate the resources to the more profitable areas.

She then began asking, “Who’s working?” and “Who’s not working?” If someone was doing a good job, they were paid and promoted faster. If their work were not up to standard, she would encourage them to go somewhere else. This became her management style. She would occasionally visit the office and simply ask, “What’s working?” and “What’s not working?”

Over the next ten years, using these simple questions and always following up where they led, she built the company’s sales to $25 million. She then sold the company and retired financially independent for life.

The moral of the story is: In your life, some things are working and some that are not. The key is to identify the things that are working and doing more of them. You must also clearly determine what is not working and stop doing those things.

You will transform your business and your life by using this simple technique of evaluating what works and what doesn’t work.