No MBA mumbo-jumbo, just stuff that's worked through 30 years of team-building in business and the military.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Lesson of the Ugly Chair

I spent some quality time over the holidays in an overstuffed chair, sometimes with a book and sometimes watching TV or playing a computer game. That chair has been around a long time; I think I bought it when my kids were just tykes; now both are married and I have grandchildren. it fits my behind pretty well, but it has seen its better days.

That chair reminds me of something Andy Stanley, founder of North Point Ministries, said in a LeaderCast presentation a few years ago. Mr. Stanley suggested we try to look at our organizations as our replacement would. Try to imagine, he said, what the guy or gal who comes after you will get rid of, just like a new tenant in your apartment would junk that old ugly easy chair.

There’s a lot of truth there. We all have things we hang onto far beyond their usefulness. Sometimes we just don’t notice them anymore; often we’ve lived with them so long we don’t see how bad they’ve really gotten. Maybe it’s something we started, so it’s precious to us.

So look at your area the way your replacement would. What would he stop doing? What would she change or refurbish? What processes or practices or reports or meetings would be the hardest to explain or justify?

It’s something you ought to do every year, and the New Year is a natural time for evaluation. It will help you answer the question, “What will I do different this year to get a better result?”

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