This is a rebroadcast. The episode originally ran in August 2016. Greg McKeown has dedicated his career to discovering why some people and teams break through to the next level—and others don’t. The definitive treatment of this issue is addressed in his New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Greg hosts The Essentialism Podcast and is the CEO of McKeown Inc., with clients including Adobe, Apple, Google, Facebook, Pixar,, Symantec, Twitter, VMware, and Yahoo!. Originally from London, England, Greg now lives near Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife Anna and their family. In this interview Greg and Kurt talk about how the principle of Essentialism applies to his calling as bishop and the culture at-large in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the time of this recording, Greg was serving as bishop of his ward in California.


1:30 Introduction and Greg’s background and how he ended up in America 9:00 Greg’s testimony development 14:00 How Greg met his wife 16:30 Greg was a coauthor with Liz Wiseman on the book, Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. 19:00 Getting called as bishop 21:50 What is Essentialism? The disciplined pursuit of less. 22:40 Greg talks about his book Essentialism and why he wrote it. 30:30 The closet analogy of essentialism and how it relates to leadership

  • Our obligation as leaders is not to our traditions, to the past, or to what other people are doing.
  • Strip away all the things that are non-essentials.

36:30 The power of saying no. Can I say no to “inspired” requests?

  • Remember to pause and think. Remember that the Lord’s voice wins over any other voice.
  • Divine tradeoffs are a requirement of our lives. There are always hard tradeoffs.
  • There are good and great things but we need to do the essential things.

43:20 Think of all the things that Jesus DIDN’T do. He didn’t feel the obligation to do everything. He did His Father’s will. 45:30 How do you create a culture of essentialism in your ward?

  • Focus on the people instead of the programs and activities.
  • When it comes to meetings in the church, have a tight purpose and a loose agenda.

55:45 Thomas S. Monson’s experience struggling with the social obligations of his calling versus following the spirit. His life was a beautiful example of putting people first and the social obligations second. 58:30 Think about what sacrifice really is. For thousands of years it meant to kill and to cut a baby lamb. In our day it means to eliminate, or to make a tradeoff. You can’t do it all.


Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most 7 Unbreakable Rules of a Meeting Liz Wiseman Interviews & Articles on Creating Essential Change In Your Organization | An Interview with Greg McKeown Get 14-day access to the Core Leader Library Read the TRANSCRIPT of this podcast

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