THE STRATEGY OF ELIMINATING
This is a strategy about letting go. Letting go of what no longer works, as well as things that won’t work for much longer. It’s a difficult thing because we’re programmed to always DO something. But those of us who quickly recognize that a certain course of action isn’t working and stop doing it are more likely to be successful.
Avoiding the unavoidable
The following Omdenken premise is a huge part of this strategy: if something is going to stop working in the near future, stop doing it. Think about the music business. Record companies watched their business model change when music starting being downloaded on a massive scale. The old-school model of CD sales had stopped working. The smart companies adapted to the change and adapted to the digital model, albeit reluctantly. The stubborn ones went out of business or were bought up by the competition.
Beating your head against the wall
Insanity is often defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. It’s a great expression to define The Strategy of Eliminating because it shows the necessity of quitting things that don’t work. The American company General Electric understands this idea very well. If G.E. operates in a certain market segment but isn’t market leader, they stop doing that business. Very simple – either G.E. is number one or they move on to another business.
The power of deconstruction
Another facet to The Strategy of Eliminating is the process of removing one part of a process only to see if it might improve another part of the process. Take business meetings for example. 25% of our working lives are spent at meetings. At TNO in the Netherlands they decided to make meetings more efficient. The result? The ‘Stand-Up Meeting’. Instead of comfortably sitting down during meetings, employees were forced to stand up which led to more efficiency and faster decision making and saved a whole bunch of money.
The danger of assumptions
We often think that things have to go a certain way because they’ve always gone that way. The Strategy of Eliminating encourages us to eliminate these tired assumptions. The Synergy School in South Africa is a great example. Humans tend to think that a school needs a director. But is that necessarily so? In South Africa they disagreed and a ‘self-managing’ school was born. It works beautifully to this day.
Find out what you can eliminate and cut it, chop it, drop it. Don’t hold on to the scraps – let go and move on.