I was on an advisory board call recently when fellow board member Mike Serbinis of League and Kobo fame (among others…) asked a zinger of a question to the management team. When talking about all the projects the team had on the go, Mike asked which projects and activities should be killed?
This simple question is one that companies, teams and even individuals should be asking regularly. It’s so easy to start things. And in our always hustling go-go mode, we often start things that may, over time, prove to be either no longer needed or simply not the best way to go.
I recommend that you have a regular discipline of reviewing all open projects, priorities, responsibilities, etc. Ask yourself which of these continue to be worthy of effort and focus.
The fact that you may have already invested a lot in these initiatives is not relevant. Those are sunk costs. All that matters is, do they add value going forward?
In fact, this notion of future benefit vs. sunk costs brings up a key question I regularly ask CEOs struggling with an issue: Assume you have started something or hired someone and you’re not sure you made the right decision.
The question to ask yourself is: “knowing what I know today would I make the same decision”? If yes, then keep going. If not, then, no matter what, you know that you need to undo that prior decision. You need to stop doing that thing. Or you need to remove that team member that’s not working out.
So, ask yourself regularly: what should I stop doing?