While it’s incredibly common for leaders to start and build, one of the things I’ve noticed lately is the multiplying layers and cascading complexity that creeps into growing organizations. Whether it be regulatory, administrative, financial, legal, operational, or personnel-related, the “stuff to do” pile can grow at exponential rates and create an unending workload or the addition of unnecessary team members.
While my eyes and mind are commonly around what we need to start doing or do differently, in watching our team and organization grow, one question has come to the forefront is, “what do we need to stop doing?”
Here are a couple of areas where the answers have come to the forefront of late:
Reducing Meeting Frequency
When a Director was still new to our team, meeting every week made sense. One year in, with the groundwork laid, it’s time to move to bi-weekly. Beyond reducing our meeting time by 50-75 hours between the two of us, it’s likely to bring renewed intentionality in meeting less frequently. However, too few meetings can be equally problematic, so move forward with caution. Consider, “if one of us were unable to meet or reschedule, would the gap between the previous meeting and the next meeting be uncomfortably long?” It’s an important question to guide when meetings don’t happen, for whatever reason.
In beginning a new role ten years ago, cash flow reporting was so critical that a daily report was necessary to keep a finger on the pulse of the company’s financial health. Years later, with increased experience, margin, and transactions, three days a week became sufficient. Just a few weeks ago, in launching a new entity, our accounting team gave the sentiment that we’re going to need to do something to bring greater simplicity to the reporting. In raising the matter, we were clarifying what’s necessary for THIS SEASON. After a bit of thought, it’s clear that twice-weekly was plenty, accounting could send the same report to all of the recipients, and there were a few of the entities that only needed quarterly reporting.
Not only does this bring increased efficiency, but it’s also a powerful way to honor the team and show respect for their time, energy, and work.
As we move into a meeting or a new year, it’s tempting to tackle EVERYTHING that’s concerning you. While we may be a little concerned here and a lot concerned there, our teams can feel like a pigeon flew over if we’re not careful. What we had hoped would feel like vision, gifts, and clarity for the team actually felt like a bunch of messy stuff for them to do. As I seek to grow as a leader, I’m working to establish bullseyes before I walk into a meeting or presentation with our team. I’m asking myself, “what do we want people to experience DURING, and what do we want them to walk out with AFTER?”
If we’re not careful in these three areas, we’ll have organizations with TOO MUCH work and TOO MANY meetings and objectives. After all, if everything is a priority, nothing is.
What is it time to end or reduce today? Give it a try! If we pick the right things, it brings relief and capacity to the leaders. And, the team will breathe a sigh of relief.
Cheers to being leaders who tweak little things to pave the way to accomplish big things!