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Frogs, Gecko’s and the Clutter Trap

Optimize Blog - September 30, 2009 - 0 comments

A gecko with leopard spots and a fanged frog that eats birds are two of 162 new species apparently discovered last year in the Mekong River area of SE Asia.
The fact that these critters could exist without being discovered by man until now filled me with a sense of awe and brought home the fact that, despite our best attempts to destroy vast swathes of it, we still have important things to discover about our planet.
Indeed, scientists think we actually know more about space than we do about some of our deepest oceans – so David Attenborough may have a job for a bit longer.
It got me thinking about context and the fact that whilst we rightly consider the number of species extinctions we often overlook this fact that we are finding new species all the time.  We really have no clue how many more are yet to be discovered.
This got me thinking about the balance of new with old.  Have you ever noticed how, in our business lives, our ‘to do’ list, KPI’s or priority objectives seem to grow exponentially?  How activities that are old, defunct or even irrelevant cling to life through our inability to kill them off?
Maybe it doesn’t help that occasionally it seems that people who take on more and who are incredibly ‘busy’ all the time are thought to be invaluable to the business, whilst those that make a point of focusing on a selected number of things are often not so well thought of…  However, the reality is that success in business is always about the value you deliver and that busy fools are eventually found out.
The point is, that if we keep taking on new projects without finishing, closing off or renegotiating what was there previously, we just collect ‘business clutter’ which then inevitably prevents us from delivering on those new commitments which are certainly much more relevant to the business today.
In the dynamic business world we need to take on new stuff – after all if we stand still the world passes us by, we fail to realize opportunity and our competitors steal a march.But how do we achieve this balance of completing and moving on from the old commitments so that we can take on the new commitments?
The way forward must be to abandon or re-negotiate an old commitment for every new commitment you take on.  Spend time clearing out the clutter in your diary, canceling irrelevant meetings and making time for the new.
Spend some time today searching out your own fanged frog or spotted gecko.  What new projects or initiatives will add the most value to the business and most closely reflect the objectives of your role?  Which ‘old’ commitments no longer reflect the pressing needs of the business today?
If they are not aligned to the objectives of the business and your role… then extinction is the only sensible option!

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