Why management must actively pursue strategic abandonment

Pawel Kadysz @ unsplash.com

Every three months, I spend half-a-day going through all my personal possessions and split them up in three groups: the first – items that I still use and need to keep: the second – things that I no longer use and need to trash; and third – stuff that I’m unsure of – which I put in storage…if I don’t use it over the ensuing three months, I dispose of those items as well.
I also have an ongoing principle that if purchase something new, it must accompany the disposal of something redundant.

This habit has served me well in managing my possessions.

I also do the same with my areas of focus in my personal and professional life.

For, in order for individuals and organisations to be able to effectively adapt to the changing environment, not only should they embark on new pursuits, but they must actively abandon existing ones.

We achieve this by following what I call the Stop/Start/More/Less quadrant to crystallise how we should focus our time, energies and resources.

A more simplistic question would be: knowing what we know now, if we weren’t already doing this, would we engage in such an activity?

This also applies to our people: if we had to walk across the street and start from scratch would we employ all the people that work for us right now?

If the answer to these questions is NO, then we must strategically abandon such activities and people.

Whilst practicing this once a quarter has been reasonably effective in the past, with the increasing pace of change, we may have to do this more frequently.

Except in the case of acquisitions, most organisations have limited resources. So, only if we stop doing certain things and free up our resources, can we effectively pursue new opportunities.