Sometimes, what leaders stop doing is just as important as what they are doing.
I like to make lists. I have a daily to-do list, a list of yearly projects and goals, and longer-term lists of things to accomplish and do. I love to think about what I’m going to start doing this next year.
But I spend little to no time on what I’m going to stop doing.
I’ve read for years that everybody needs a “stop-doing” list, and that it is at least important as the “start-doing” list. I’ve nodded in agreement, but I can’t say I’ve ever really made one.
This summer I spent a lot of time thinking through my stop-doing list. I’ve found it harder to create than a start-doing list. It takes more thought, prayer and reflection.
I’m still pondering my list, but here are a few thoughts I’m wrestling with as a leader for the stop-doing list.
1. Where are we heading?
Am I giving myself to the right things to ensure we keep moving where we believe God is leading?
It is pretty disconcerting to realize the organization you lead has grown substantially in size and complexity, but you are still leading the same way, as if nothing happened.
I didn’t really see this in myself or our team until we had already outgrown our capacity as it was. This is typical.
By the time many realize things need to change, you are past the time they should have changed. Making a stop-doing list has made this even more glaring.
2. What am I being selfish about?
There are some things on my stop-doing list I really love doing.
The problem is there is only so much time and energy, and sometimes we have to reinvent our roles and stop doing some things we enjoy in order to get out of the way.
Just because I like doing something doesn’t mean it is right for where the organization is now and where it needs to grow.