When To Stop
I was watching a video today, and in it the lady said 'I didn't know where to start'. Knowing where to start can be difficult. When you feel overwhelmed with the amount of things to do, just starting can be challenging. To some extent it doesn't matter though. Just start somewhere and find your way over the stepping stones.
When to stop is harder. We've released a couple of podcasts about it recently (Delegating To The Floor and "But I LIKE Doing That Part Of My Job!"). We wouldn't have had to write either if just stopping doing things was easy.
There's an implication that if you stop doing whatever it is, that the time you spent doing it was wasted. If it's not valuable now, it never was. That's not true. The truth is that every day we need to be thinking about what we're doing and balancing the effort against the value.
There's a fear sometimes that you'll lose the skill you're using to complete the task. Sometimes you will. But if you stick with using the skills which are no longer required, you'll soon be obsolete.
If it's a project you're working on which hasn't yet come to fruition, there's the feeling that if you just gave it another week or two, you'll turn the corner and get the result you want. It might be true. But scientists tell us we're very bad at ditching things which are no longer valuable when we've invested a lot of time. It's called 'sunk cost' and the more there is of it, the closer we are to never getting the result we want and the less we want to stop.
All of these feelings are normal reactions to change. Though it would be wonderful if our directs and peers were robots, and changed just because logic told them it was time, human beings are a little slower. 'Why don't you want to stop?' might be a good question for your direct, or for yourself. When you know why you don't want to give up low value activities, paradoxically it becomes easier to do just that.
We are convinced that everyone can be more efficient and effective by improving their communication. The best way to improve communication is to match your delivery to the communication style of the recipient. The first step in this is watching people and their behaviors. Paying attention to others is critical to effective communication.
Our favorite tool for understanding behavioral and communication methods is the DiSC profile. We have a number of podcasts to help you determine another's profile. You can learn about DiSC and determine your profile here.
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