In Focus, Leaders

“Out of clutter, find simplicity.” – Albert Einstein

Last week in this space the topic was fuel & where we go to get energy.  Someone said to me that they’ve figured out where they go to get energy, they just aren’t sure what to do with it when they find it.  They could take off running in so many directions – which way should they be facing when they start running?

It feels like there is no end to the directions in which we are tempted to run.  There are so many barriers to overcome, and at the same time, there can feel like so many possible opportunities.  It’s hard to know what to go after first, or second, or if some should be gone after at all.

I met with the leaders of a very successful business recently, and they discussed, among other things, a small division of their business.  It’s not really related to their core business, none of the leaders is passionate about it, none of the leaders is an expert in that business, and it’s not overly profitable.  It’s one of those things that businesses keep doing because they’ve always done it, and it seems to take more and more resources (time) than ever before.

We had a great conversation, and the end result was that as it relates to that particular division, and going forward as it relates to the business as a whole, the theme was simplification.  This business has so many things going on that they’re feeling overwhelmed.  So, they’ve decided to simply, and just focus on the stuff they’re passionate about doing, that they do really well, that their customers value.

What things are you doing as an organization that are just clutter?  What things are you doing because “Someday that will lead to a great opportunity” and then twenty years later that opportunity hasn’t materialized?  What things are you doing that are a distraction from the things you do really well?

There are plenty of reasons to simplify, not the least of which is that, at least in my part of the world, there just aren’t that many people to do the work that needs to be done.  Any excess noise is just taking away from our most scarce resources – the time & energy of our people.

I’d challenge you after you’re done reading this to make a list of everything your business does, or everything you as a leader are doing, that’s just clutter.  Identify the biggest clutterers & then put together a plan for eliminating them.

Don’t make your world more complex than necessary.  The simpler it is, the more you can focus on making it work, and the less distracted you are by noise.  You’ll be amazed what you can accomplish with just a little bit more quiet.

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