This has come up several times in sessions that I’ve led over the past few months. Reflecting back on why goals or rocks weren’t achieved during the prior year or quarter, leaders have realized that they, their boss or peers wasted time doing “dumb stuff”. What was so powerful in these sessions was that leaders were willing to call each other out.
What is “dumb stuff”? Here’s a short (but not all inclusive) list:
- Playing out of position - time spent on activities outside the 5 major roles for your seat as defined on the Accountability Chart;
- Carrying everyone else’s “monkeys” – enabling people to skate by doing their work instead of holding them accountable for their commitments and results (reference One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey);
- Talking around issues instead of identifying the Root Cause (reference IDS);
- Chasing opportunities that are outside your Core Focus (reference your V/TO);
- Cramming 20 ounces of toothpaste into a 12 ounce tube - making commitments to organizations and people outside of work or family that you can’t possibly keep;
Sometimes doing “dumb stuff” is a blind spot. You get yourself so deep into the weeds that you don’t even realize that the work you’re doing has little to no impact on moving your business forward. You’re frustrating yourself and others.
If you and your team haven’t discussed “dumb stuff”, this would be an excellent time of year to have the discussion. Be open and honest. Start by calling each other out on why weekly “to do’s” aren’t getting done. Help each other stay focused and hold each other accountable. You’ll stop doing the dumb stuff and start doing the right stuff!