Do Less Better isn’t the first book on focus, nor will it be the last. But the element that separates this book from the others is the “how” – how one finds focus in a business world that is more complex than ever. All the way from the C-suite’s choice of markets in which to compete to a person’s daily “to do” list, the “how” is the capacity to make tough strategic choices and tough strategic sacrifices.
There’s a difference between tough choices and tough sacrifices. Tough strategic choices are about the business. Tough sacrifices are about you. Tough sacrifices claw at your emotions because they require that you do something that you don’t want to do. These are the sacrifices that rob you of sleep, sober your disposition, heighten your stress, and choke your patience on the little things in life.
Assume you are a CEO considering the tough strategic choice to discontinue some product lines to help focus your business. There are several ramifications associated with the decision, including layoffs and terminations. Severing the heads of a hundred faceless workers in a distant plant may be tolerable. Now, think about firing a hundred confidents as well as loyal and long-termers who you see every day. Suddenly, your tough strategic decision requires a tough strategic sacrifice.
Giving up something of value for the sake of other considerations is the essence of sacrifice. People do this all the time in their personal lives, but few practice sacrifice within the workplace. This is the secret to success for small to medium sized companies facing the clout of giant competitors. That’s not to say sacrifice can’t help mega-corporations mired by complexity restore lost nimbleness and resilience.
In Do Less Better, I discuss several disciplines and examples of successful focus and sacrifice as it applies to leadership, strategy, marketing, branding and culture. Rudderless leadership and morose cultures will eventually bring a company to its knees. Without strategy, survival is possible but seldom over the long haul. Coherence is the critical performance component.
Bulldozing the walls of complexity never comes without sacrifice. The earlier and the bigger the sacrifice, the easier it gets afterward. Sacrifice must remain a part of the organization’s DNA. You are never finished pruning what you plant.