If there’s one thing I’m relentless about when it comes to strategy, it’s do less.
Every company I have ever consulted with, regardless of size, sophistication or sector, tries to take on too much. Too many objectives, too many strategies, too many projects.
Which is why I love a book I recently came across, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown. The premise is that when you discern what is absolutely essential, and then eliminate everything that is not, you make “the highest possible contribution toward the things that really matter.”
When your organization takes on too many initiatives, it’s inevitable that some, and likely many, will fail. Over time, you create a track record of failure. You create an expectation of failure. You create an acceptance of failure. And you create a culture of failure. Failure becomes the norm.
The tragedy of taking on too much is how it becomes so easy for people – starting with you – to rationalize anything other than success. And how it becomes so hard to get your people to believe in and support the next initiative. The culture of failure becomes self-perpetuating.
As an antidote to this, McKeown describes how Essentialists commit to, “the disciplined pursuit of less”, not, “the undisciplined pursuit of more”. How they believe, “almost everything is nonessential”, not “almost everything is essential”. And how they are comfortable thinking, “less but better”, not “all things to all people”.
When you focus on less, concentrate your energy and resources, and accept no excuses, you accomplish more. And you build an expectation that when your organization commits to something, it gets done. Now you’re creating a culture of success.
Everything is a choice. Choose to do less.
Make it happen.