How Do You Do “Stop Doing?”

Audio Transcript

How do you do “stop doing”? This question comes up a lot because I always press people: “You need to have a ‘stop doing’ list to go with your ‘to do’ list.”

But people come back and they say, “We find it really difficult to stop doing.” 

I’d like to suggest that there are six ways that you can practice “stop doing.”  The first piece of the puzzle is clarifying your Hedgehog, because the key to “stop doing” is to know what your Hedgehog is and then to basically say, “We should stop doing anything that doesn’t fit with the Hedgehog.”

#2. As simple as it sounds, actually start your “stop doing” list. Begin your “stop doing” list.  I have my “to do” list; and right next to my “to do” list is my “stop doing” list. When you go over your “to dos” for the day, make sure you start by reviewing your “stop doings.” 

#3. When you do your annual planning, don’t just say, “These are our objectives for the years one, two and three”; also have your top three objectives to stop doing. And for every “to do” objective, you should also have a “stop doing” objective. 

#4. This is very powerful. We’ve found this useful in our own operation.  Make a list of the projects that you have underway, the activities you’re engaged in. Then force people on the team to rank-order them in importance: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, in rank order. Then chop out the bottom 20 percent. 

#5. Use the Peter Drucker question—beautiful question. If it were a blank-page decision, if it were a fresh start all over again, and you were trying to decide whether to start a project, whether to get into a business, if it were a “Should we enter?” decision, would you? 

Finally, when you do your budgeting, practice what I call digital budgeting,  which means don’t just spread your resources over all the things that you’re doing. Budget differently from that. Basically, those priorities—those that make it in the ranking—will get full funding. Those that don’t make it in the ranking will get zero funding. Not analog, but digital budgeting.

Copyright © 2017 Jim Collins, All rights reserved.