If you were asked, what was the single biggest disaster in American automotive history, chances are you would come up with the Edsel. However, the Edsel was in production for only a few years, and while it was an expensive lesson for Ford, it was easily outdistanced. Chrysler Motors kept its DeSoto in production for far more years and lost money almost every year.
The point of the story is that it is difficult for companies and individuals to give up on projects or activities once they are launched. Rather than assessing and prioritizing tasks, we opt to remain busy. Or we might do a magnificent job of prioritizing and goal setting but fail to ask the key question, “Is this what we should be spending our time on?”
At the organizational level, many processes and procedures are created to fulfill an existing need. Unfortunately, the continuance of the activity often outlives the need. If you suspect that some report that you prepare is no longer useful try stopping it (or stop sending it out) for 2 months and see if anyone asks for it. If not, chances are it should be discontinued.
After Tiger Woods had won his first major tournament he was approached by a golf coach who told him all the things he was doing wrong. As well as what needed to be corrected in order to not simply rely on his raw talent. It meant stopping some actions and changing others. Despite his recent success, Tiger Woods took the advice and reinvented his game.
At the personal level, Rochelle Myers and Michael Ray at Stanford suggest this task: Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and that you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?
It might help to pose these additional questions:
1) What are you deeply passionate about?
2) What are you genetically encoded for – what activities do you feel you are “made to do”?
3) What makes economic sense – what can you make a living at?
Suppose you write the answers in three circles. Those fortunate enough to find or create a practical intersection of these three have the basis for a great life.
If you make an inventory of your activities today, what percentage of your time falls outside the three circles? If it is more than 50%, then a “stop doing” list may be an important and useful creation. It takes discipline to
discard what does not fit, but consider the upside. It might put you on the road to making your life a creative work of art.
At OWLS we have IFC Certified coaches that can work with you individually or with your team. If you would like to learn more book a 15 or 30-minute engagement call with me using this link. https://glkuzuyyowmrpgiedq.10to8.com
I look forward to talking 1-on-1 with you soon.