Success.com recently published a list entitled “10 ‘Harmless’ Habits to Drop If You Want to Be Successful.”
Based on the experience I’ve had with successful teams the last several years, I would say just being successful at dropping the first habit will get you a long way toward success.
Number One: Saying Yes When You Want to Say No!
I’ve taught many teams recently the true meaning of the word decide. Top corporate teams are filled with high achievers. They have all been getting things done since an early age. They’ve been rewarded in academics, sports, arts, and business for getting things done. Getting them done faster and in more volume than anyone else. They’re “doers”!
So, it’s very natural to believe that when corporate leadership teams get together they should decide what to do!
But that’s not what the word means. The “cide” part of the word means to cut off, put to death, publicly execute. Think for a minute about the words pesticide or homicide. The one habit that is keeping most teams and leaders from success is concluding that they should be doing more and more. Corporations and individuals don’t have the resources, energy, time or fortitude to keep doing more and more. Successful teams and leaders decide what to kill, what to stop doing.
There are so many variables related to success and failure in the auto industry that I honestly don’t know if this one issue will spell success or failure for General Motors (GM). But, I need to applaud their courage in shifting their measure of success from being the number one car maker in the world by volume. That seemed to be the driving force in GM for decades. But today, they’ve decided to stop producing vehicles in many parts of the world. That takes courage. Will it be successful? I don’t know. As I said, there are many factors to success and failure. But I do believe that deciding where to stop putting your resources is a big factor.
Saying No is Difficult
I really don’t know many leaders who reward and praise their people for not doing something. But they should. Research and my direct experience with many great leaders validate that focusing on the top three issues you face is the best route to success. Rewarding your people for not doing the 10th item on their priority list (and 9, 8, 7, …) will lead to more success than you can imagine. Leaders and organizations never have enough resources to do everything. The assumption is they just need more resources or more productivity out of the resources they have. That’s the wrong assumption. The real answer is assuming you’re trying to do too many things. Deciding not to do the low priority items will help you realize that you have all the resources you need to accomplish your top priorities. And it will lead to greater success as well.
Figure out how to say No!
The Power of a Positive No by William Ury is a great resource. Deciding to say no will be one of the most productive practices you ever learn.