During a recent walk I was thinking about something I read in a blog article by Michael Hyatt, by the way, if you are unfamiliar with him I recommend his blog. He writes a lot of good stuff about business and some interesting stuff about managing life. In one of his articles he hinted at something that I reformulated for my own use. What I'm talking about is trying to identify the business and personal habits, processes or practices that I automatically assume make sense but on closer investigation I'll find out the idea either was never a good idea or it's an idea who's time has passed.
Once I decided to take a look I couldn't believe how difficult it is to then decide which things to look at! I decided I'd look back at the prior week for some clues or direction. I had thought that the prior week was really pretty uneventful and not very interesting nor complex. But then I started breaking down the events and connecting the dots it got messy. I'm now convinced that many things are simple but few things are uncomplicated.
I then made the leap of logic that goes like this, "If I'm trying to figure out what I'm fooling myself about, then obviously I've already fooled myself and how will I recognize it?" Now what do I do?
It wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought. Here's what I did. I went to someone in our office and asked the brilliantly insightful question, "What do we do that's dumb?" Much to my surprise (and a bit of disappointment) they didn't need to think about it at all, nearly before the words came out of my mouth the person had listed 3 things.... bang..bang..bang!
To shorten this post I won't bore you with the details but here are the results of looking into the 3 things identified for me:
- #1 - I didn't realize we were even still doing it, it was a policy I had put into effect a few years back and it was absolutely redundant. Cancelled.
- #2 - This was an item a service provider required and it is very important, except we had dropped the vendor long ago but kept the process. Cancelled .
- #3 - This is something that actually makes sense but the person didn't understand why we needed to do it. Once I explained it better the person was on board.
There you have it. This entire process took about 20 minutes and the result - eliminated 2 things that we were wasting money on and helped an associate understand a process they thought was a waste of time. All in all a pretty good return on my investment of 20 minutes.
Moral of the story... If you want to "unfool" yourself you're probably going to need an opinion other than your own.