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If you are reading this blog post it’s an indicator that you have a growth mindset. You are constantly looking for new techniques, tools, and strategies that will enhance your ability to lead and achieve. One challenge you will likely face is that you can become overwhelmed if you keeping adding and never get rid of anything. How do you decide what to add and what to get rid of? How do you do this in a strategic way that insures continued growth and focus?
Accept That You Must Continue to Add
We exist in a world that is changing rapidly and one of your most important attitudes is the willingness to change. To keep up you will need to learn and practice new things. Never resist adding to your tool bag.
Don’t Add Just Because
Beware of adding just because it’s new or different. Know thyself well, says the wise sage. If you are easily distracted by new and different, be careful about how you choose. It’s important to have the question before you find the answer. If you don’t have the question, when some new idea comes along, how will you know it’s the answer? Evaluate new ideas from the perspective of what your goal is. This will improve your chances of adding something that will be valuable.
You Have Finite Headspace
You can’t keep cramming more in. I see this in the world of big data and reporting. Many managers today are experiencing “death by reporting”. What I mean is that as more data and analysis is presented to you, you have to be careful that you don’t get lost in the sheer volume and never get around to taking any actions or making any decisions based on the reports. Choose to ask for more reports wisely and don’t hesitate to stop getting reports that no longer serve you.
Evaluate Based On The 80/20 Rule
Understand and accept that 20% of what you do produces 80% of your results. The Pareto Principal is commonly referred to as the 80/20 Rule and it holds up more often than not. Use this concept as a filter for looking at things you might add. Will this tool, technique, or strategy be a high impact add?
Living On A Boat
I had an experience several years ago that illustrated this idea for me in a unique and memorable way. I was taking an offshore sailing course and the instructor lived on his boat in the marina. On the last day of the course, he invited several of us over to celebrate completion of the course. I was given a tour below deck and was impressed with how organized it was. Our host made the comment that when you live on a boat, you quickly realize that you have a finite amount of space to work with. He further explained that if he ever considers adding something new, he also has to consider what he’s going to get rid of to make room for the new item. This leads to careful evaluation before proceeding.
Take some time to think about “decluttering” your managerial world. Some questions to ask could include:
- What activities am I regularly performing that aren’t really making a difference in my results?
- What are the activities that I should spend more of my time doing?
- What needs to be done, that I’m currently doing, that could be delegated to someone else?
- Am I wasting time looking at data and reports that don’t lead to decisions or actions?
- What distracts me from focusing on what’s important?
- What do I need to add and what will I get rid of to make room?
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