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In last week’s issue, we discussed the second of four adherence accelerators to help sharpen your focus (identify your one thing). The third adherence accelerator is to know when to say no.

Our clients’ stop doing lists tend to cluster into three main areas: e-mail, reports, and meetings. Here is a list of the most common things they choose to stop:

  • Stop continuing e-mail strings of more than three replies by picking up the phone or walking down the hall to talk to the other party.
  • Stop audible e-mail alerts to prevent from constantly reacting to incoming e-mails.
  • Stop using “Reply All” with e-mail.
  • Stop asking for reports that I do not use to make decisions and improvements.
  • Stop requesting reports that I do not review or do not use to make decisions/changes.
  • Stop allowing upward delegation by asking “What do you recommend?”
  • Stop holding “meetings after the meetings.”
  • Stop leaving most important items for last.
  • Stop scheduling meetings back-to-back each hour and instead schedule them for 45 minutes.

One of our long-standing clients, National Motor Club, is a provider of roadside assistance and other safety and security benefits for its members. Soon after Matt Krzysiak was promoted to CEO, he showed leadership courage by rolling out an initiative called “the dumb things we do.”

It was a lighthearted, nonthreatening way to uncover goofy policies and inefficient processes that chipped away at customer loyalty, profit margins, and employee engagement. Over the course of a week, employees submitted short descriptions of any activities they felt did not add value and should be stopped or changed. All the feedback was compiled into a single list.

Krzysiak shared the list with the entire company – with an open mind, no judgment, and lots of laughs – to reinforce his team’s courage in revealing these issues. Then he involved the employees in fixing or stopping the “dumb things we do.”

Like other winning leaders, Krzysiak understands that time, energy, and money are precious resources. If you spend them in one area, you don’t have them available to spend in another. Saying yes to something by default means saying no to something else. Communicating this message enables your team to say no to the trivial many activities and stay focused on the vital few.

For more tips more tips on saying no, read Stick with It: Mastering the Art of Adherence or contact us to discuss how we can help.

Copyright © 2013 by The L Group, Inc.