A great question. We like to add projects, tasks, and features to our team or to our product but so much of leadership is knowing how and when to simply what we do. Trying to do too much leaves people as well as an organization tired and worn out. Plus, sometimes you just have to let things go because they don’t work or aren’t effective any more.
What can you do to stop excessive activities in your own organization? Here are three things from the Harvard Business Review blog to help:
- Separate cost-reduction from work-reduction. Since people are naturally (and understandably) protective of their livelihoods and careers, it’s difficult to ask them to do things that will result in the loss of their own job. So if cost-reduction is a key driver, try your best to eliminate jobs first. Only then should you work with the “survivors” to eliminate the unnecessary work.
- Make work elimination a group activity. While managers are hesitant to point out stoppage possibilities in their own areas, they often can see opportunities elsewhere. By bringing teams together across different business units and functions, you stand a better chance of surfacing activities that can be brought to a halt.
- Insert a “sunset clause” in the charter of all new committees, teams, and projects. Instead of swimming against the tide in trying to stop ongoing endeavors, make the shut-down process a natural event in the life cycle of organizational activities. If people know from the start that there is a beginning and an end, then managers will start to expect that things will be turned off at a specific time and can plan accordingly.
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