Mission Accomplished or Abandoned?

"Someone asked me, if I were stranded on a desert island what book would I bring... 'How to Build a Boat.' " — Steven Wright

When throwing out my trash at the local community trash collection, I was amazed to see the irony of the book "Clean Out Your Clutter" lying in the middle of the all the garbage.

Was the book thrown into the garbage as a final celebration of mission accomplished?

Or was it a sad gesture of mission abandoned?

I have been to organizations where they had a set of books with their, hmm, aspirational methodology displayed proudly on various bookshelves.

These organizations were not successfully executing the methodologies. Sometimes the effort towards implementing the methodologies was going in the wrong direction and getting in the way of the work.

Before you throw away the book and the ideas behind it, consider these three questions.

  • What problem were you trying to solve? Sometimes a shiny new methodology can be a distraction from the problem you were trying to solve. Rethink your problem statement. Is this book really part of the answer? If no, toss it.
  • Is this methodology really for you and your organization? The book lying on top of the trash is the decluttering method of Feng Shui. The people I personally have seen be successful with this method already had decluttered, organized houses. The method took them to a new level. Other people were not successful until they found the method that worked for them.
  • Do you have the right coach? All methodologies need adjustments to make them work well for the environment of the specific organization. I have helped many organizations that were trying to do "exactly what the book said." The simple tweaks I advised were all that was needed to get the organization and the method aligned and working well.

The tossing of the decluttering book was a bold move whether it was mission accomplished or abandoned. It is also a bold move to get the help you need to make your methodologies work for you.

Be bold and reach mission accomplished.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,
ALAN WILLETT