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Purposeful Abandonment is Not a Wacky Weekend Away!

At first the headline might sound like some Zen focus on how to “escape from it all!” Not so!  Purposeful Abandonment is about progress and innovation, not escapism.

“Planned, purposeful abandonment of the old and of the unrewarding is a prerequisite to successful pursuit of the new and highly promising.”

Peter Drucker

Drucker’s theory of Purposeful Abandonment says, “The first step in a growth policy is not to decide where and how to grow; it is to decide what to abandon.  In order to grow, a business must have a systematic policy to get rid of the outgrown, the obsolete, and the unproductive.”

Jim Collins, of Good to Great fame, also subscribes to purposeful abandonment.  Collins submits that great leaders and great companies have a “stop doing” list.   He also refers to the items dropped from the list as “extraneous junk.”   Boom!   Right between the eyes!

Don’t we all love our junk?   No, not the really great leaders!   They are willing to part with…

  • Data dumps (reports) that no one reads or analyzes
  • Products that should be abandoned
  • Long-tenured employees who aren’t producing results
  • Pet projects that are low on value and expensive to maintain
  • Activities that do not add value or deliver results
  • Busy-ness
  • Relationships that no longer serve either party
  • Policies and procedures that conflict with mission
  • Low integrity relationships and systems

What are you doing that is contributing to a squander of resources?   What things and people can be added to your “stop doing” list?   Before heading into a new year, make it part of your plan to use Purposeful Abandonment.  This will make room for products, activities, systems, people, and relationships that really will matter.

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Judy W Bell

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