• He’s a Billionaire and All I got was this Excel Doc [Template Included]

    Jamie Dimon built up JP Morgan Chase and was named CEO of the year in 2011 with one essential tool.

    While reading Jamie Dimon’s biography, I learned he keeps a one-page accountability document to manage the organization with over 250,000 employees.  The document contains every item owed to Jamie and when someone has an update, he pulls the paper out and updates it immediately.

    This incredibly simple tool will change the way you function as a manager. Since I read about Jamie’s concept and personalized it, I have offered it with guidance to my team and together we have accomplished a great number of things including:

    • Renovating a brand and a culture
    • Scaling up 3x employee growth
    • Growing Invenio’s top line revenue by 135% and profit by 166%
    • Staying on top of multiple investments to drive strategy and scale
    • Becoming better people at work and at home


    Before using this approach, I managed a team at a fast-growing tech company in Austin. While the team was highly paid and skilled, we would end up missing deadlines or the execution of our strategies would fall behind.

    It was then that I realized that as much as we want to believe it, not everyone can do what they are supposed to do without the right support.

    This tool will help you if some of your team’s challenges are:

    • Time management and prioritization
    • Workload management
    • Operating below 100% of potential

    Check it out below, including how it works.  If you think the Master Pending Document template would be useful to you, feel free to download via this link.

    My Personal “Master Pending” Priority and Accountability Manager

    Paper is a great way to keep it simple, but my format needed to be different as I like all of my tools on my mac.

    The Categories

    My document is broken up into the various columns that are the focuses of my life:  Invenio, Personal, Other investments, and Accountabilities.  This helps me look at the spread of tasks in the short-term and long-term to help focus on one category at a time.

    When there is a task I need to get done, it goes on the list for that category.

    The List and the Priority

    The list itemizes tasks and actions for me to complete. It is prioritized so the top 5 items get the most attention — in fact, I have a red line just below those items.

    The top 5 items are specifically “if they don’t get done, the ship sinks” kind of activities that help me focus. 

    The list allows me to have a repository of tasks that need to be completed.  This frees up my brain for more strategic thought rather than tactical actions and trust me, I need the extra capacity!

    The Accountabilities

    Then, the far right column has a space for “Accountabilities.”  As a leader, we often get called micromanagers if we check in all the time.  And honestly, that’s not me.  But when someone owes me something, we mutually agree on the single owner of the task, a due date, and the specifics of the task. It goes on my sheet.  The document notes the date and anything overdue is automatically highlighted in red.

    If I see red, I follow up with an email asking for an update, showing the missed “accountability bullet.”  This helps a) keep us on track toward our strategic goals and b) helps my team understand that deadlines and communication are crucial.

    master pending


    A note about deadlines: While they are crucial, I’m not hard-nosed about a deadline unless it’s been missed multiple times or it is of extreme importance.  The key is that they are discussed. If they are running late, the team learns to communicate with me about the miss in advance and together, we reset expectations.

    To download the template click here.


    Do you think this is useful?  Feel free to share how you adapt this tool.