Hello, my friends.
Today’s business lesson is one that is not only applicable in the business world but also in our personal lives. Even if you don’t view yourself as a business person, you will find this helpful.
Very often and not surprisingly, business owners tell me they want to grow their business. As an executive coach, I talk with them about new initiatives, new strategies, new people, new talent, and new programs designed to grow their business.
Quite often, in the course of that conversation, we find a blind spot, and it is this: Something needs to be subtracted.
And that “something” is often “someone”.
What am I talking about?
I’m talking about individuals who, despite the fact that they’ve been given every opportunity to perform, either can’t or won’t do their jobs. In fact, not only do they not do their jobs, quite often, these people are a source of problems. They don’t treat their peers respectfully. They don’t treat their people the right way, and they are not effective leaders. Even worse, they treat customers in a way that is out of alignment with the principles and values of the company.
Yet there is some hesitation on the part of the leader I am coaching – some resistance – to removing these folks.
I am here to tell you that addition by subtraction means if you rip that Band-Aid™ off, you can’t do it slowly. You must do it in a legal, moral, and ethical way, but help these people find life elsewhere. You will find it becomes a win-win for everyone.
Certainly you win as the leader, the group wins (taking into account there will be a transition period as they fill in the gap), and yes, even the person who is separated from the organization wins, too. It creates a positive outcome for all.
You may not hear back from the separated individual at first (and for obvious reasons), but more often than not, they will say it is the best thing that has ever happened to them, because the negativity was manifested because of a misalignment. By correcting the misalignment, you are essentially helping them get back to center and hopefully realign their work with a position that better fits them.
The idea of “Addition by Subtraction” comes out of the book Good to Great. It is about getting the right people on the bus – and what is implied there is that you also must get the wrong people off the bus.
This principle also applies to our personal lives.
Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”
Ask yourself these questions in terms of Addition by Subtraction:
Who is in your inner circle?
It has been said that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Think about the impact of those five people over a five-year period. What kind of influence will they have had in your life over that time period?
Who are you spending time with?
I am not talking about your family. I am not advocating that you apply Addition by Subtraction to your family. They may be challenging or difficult, but with them, you stick it out. And I am not saying you should abandon everyone that is a source of some negativity in your life.
I am talking about, as in the first example, business associates or employees. And I am talking about your inner circle. These are people who are not tied to you for any other reason. Maybe they are old friends. But if their lifestyle, their choices, or their attitudes are not in alignment with where you are going, they need to have their privileges revoked. Literally, block them. Don’t answer calls if that is what has to be done. But if you can, have a respectful and caring conversation where you say, “Hey I have some work to do. I’m going in a particular direction, and at this time, you and I are going to see each other less. Please don’t take it as an attack. It’s simply what I have to do in order to get where I’m going.”
This might sound unrealistic to you. Not only have I done it, but I have had clients who have done it. And what they have reported back to me is it wasn’t as hard as they imagined it would be.
The same thing is true of meetings. There may need to be some “Addition by Subtraction” in that regard. Most people are attending far too many meetings. (Click here for guidelines on how to add by subtracting when it comes to meetings.)
What is on your reading list?
Look at your reading list or your bookshelf. Is what you see there going to help you grow or stunt your growth? Are you feeding your personal development at regular intervals as we talk about on My Daily Edge? Are there books on your list that need to be subtracted…and others that need to be added in their place?
What are you watching?
If you listen to the average American conversation, the word “busy” will be uttered more often than ever. The pace has become frenetic. Yet, according to a Wall Street Journal article, Americans still find time to watch an average of 2 hours 49 minutes of television every day. If you are one of the average statistics, ask yourself how much of that time is really being invested in your best interest. Over a five-year period, this is over 5100 hours of your life! Stop and think about that. Is there some subtracting you need to do with regard to what you are watching? And if you took those hours and added them to the things that are important to you, how much “less busy” but “more productive” would you be?
My challenge to you is to take a look at what you might be needing to add…by SUBTRACTING.
And, you know I’m going to say it…here’s the tool to help you do just that! If you’ve already signed up for My Daily Edge…are you using it every day? The fact is, it is NOT about adding tasks to your list. It is more about subtracting the ones that are not the big rocks in your life.