Stop To-Do List

A new year is a great time to stop doing some things you’re only doing because of momentum. Here are some of my favorite things to help clients stop doing, ranging from tiny stuff to career-altering steps.

  • Cancel those “syncs” for old projects and initiatives that, for some reason, were never canceled but stopped being valuable four months ago.
  • Stop solving things for your people; create guidelines.
  • Spend less time interviewing. Unless you’re interviewing direct reports, you should very rarely be used in interview processes to filter. If the wrong people are reaching you, fix the earlier parts of the process.
  • Don’t have a meeting for what should be a well-written email.
  • Stop using never-ending email chains and Slack discussions for what should be done in a meeting.
  • Avoid bubblegum projects: projects that go on and on. Use deadlines wisely.
  • Don’t treat promoting people to management like “flipping a bit.” You cannot expect them, however talented, to spontaneously turn into great managers.
  • Stop being a floating leader. Do you have vision? Do you know how to instill purpose? (This is my most popular article of 2020, BTW!)
  • Put an end to seeing and treating Product as your opposition. For maximizing impact and your leverage, you have to comprehend it is your most important partnership.
  • Quit talking and obsessing about tech debt. There’s a limit to how much you can cut on your spending, but your income is virtually limitless. Same goes for R&D: create tech capital.
  • Don’t fall for premature organization. Refactoring organizations is harder than refactoring code.
  • Refrain from quarantining yourself in a way that prevents you from knowing what’s actually going on around you.
  • Stop being a manager; you’re an executive.
  • Refrain from staying in your comfort zone. Your team and you should be regularly bringing innovation and creativity into your work.
  • Put a stop to hemorrhaging responsibility. No matter how talented and brilliant, your HR counterparts should not be a platform for abdicating your responsibilities.

Wishing you all a stellar 2021!