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My former boss once was a high-ranking Kodak executive, so he always had a Kodak story to illustrate his points. One of my favorites was the “Stop” story, which never failed to make me giddy as I thought of ways to implement it.

If my memory is accurate, Kodak employees used to walk around with lapel pins that simply stated “STOP.” The idea was to continuously look for inefficient processes and tasks they could stop doing.

In business, we’re always adding things to our plates, but fail to weed out the wombats (my new favorite buzzword; stands for “Waste of Money, Brains, and Time”).

The result? Half-baked output, depleted resources and workers. (Not to mention a severe lack of focus and unimpressed customers.)

Best-selling author Jim Collins talks about the need for cultivating “stop-doing” lists and offers a few tips for doing so effectively:

1. Clarify your strategic direction and goals. Throw out anything that doesn’t line up with them.

2. Include your top three “stop-doing” objectives in your strategic plan(s). You should have a “stop-doing” for every “to-do” item.

3. Have your team or employees rank to-do lists in order of importance. Then chop off the bottom 20 percent.

4. Practice “digital budgeting:” priorities that make it in the ranking after the previous exercises get full funding; those that don’t, get zero funding.

Listen to Collins’ “stop-doing” rant here*.

* From Jim Collins’ “lecture hall” at JimCollins.com.


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