In a world of abundance, it’s easy to be flooded with ideas, opportunities, and projects. But by constantly adding, organizations may lose their raison d'être and forget about the true meaning of what they’re trying to achieve.
Likewise, when problems arise, organizations prefer adding rules and processes rather than examining what could be changed or removed.
Adding is easy. But adding is also lazy. Subtracting on the other hand is courageous. Because when you subtract you will face opposition from those who benefit from what you’re trying to remove. You’ll face opposition from those who prefer the status quo. But Subtracting is often the best way to stay focused on what’s important.
Not everything is important. Choosing what to do starts by eliminating the 99% of other things you’d also like to do but is not as important.
Bill Gates, as well as many other accomplished leaders, identified “focus” as the key ingredient to their success. “Focus” is precisely about subtracting. It is about removing all the secondary and “less” important things. Focus takes courage, but focus pays off in the long run, when coupled with perseverance.
Next time you feel lost, and wonder what else you could be doing, start rather by asking, what you could be removing instead.