Resolutions are about what we’re going to do – exercise, diet, read, etc. A deresolution is what you will not do or stop doing. In one of my favorite quotes, Jim Collins explains that the great leaders in his research “made as much use of ‘stop doing’ lists as ‘to do’ lists. The displayed a remarkable discipline to unplug all sorts of extraneous junk” (Good to Great, p. 139). Deciding what you need to stop doing, and following through on that decision, is not a step backward. It could be your biggest step forward this year.
But what should you stop doing? Here are 3 types of deresolutions for you to consider:
- Drop – these are things that don’t need to be done at all. It’s the monthly report that no one reads, the weekly meeting that has little value, or the program that produces little fruit. You need to call it what it is – a waste of time – and put an end to it.
- Delegate – these are things that need to be done, but not by you. First chairs and others in senior leadership roles should periodically ask, “Where I can make a unique and significant contribution to our organization’s success?” Whatever you’re doing that falls outside of this target is a candidate for delegation to someone else.
- Develop – delegation may feel like “dumping” on others, but you may also need to hand off some responsibilities for the development of people around you. This isn’t about who will do the task best today, but rather how to prepare yourself, other leaders, and the organization for the future.
It’s not too late to make a deresolution. What will you not do?