One of my long-standing clients, National Motor Club, is a provider of roadside assistance and other safety and security benefits for its members. Soon after Matt Krzysiak was promoted to CEO, he showed leadership courage by rolling out an initiative called “the dumb things we do.”
It was a lighthearted, nonthreatening way to uncover goofy policies and inefficient processes that chipped away at customer loyalty, profit margins, and employee engagement. Over the course of a week, employees submitted short descriptions of any activities they felt did not add value and should be stopped or changed. All the feedback was compiled into a single list.
Krzysiak shared the list with the entire company--with an open mind, no judgment, and lots of laughs--to reinforce his team’s courage in revealing these issues. Then he involved the employees in fixing or stopping the “dumb things we do.”
My clients’ stop doing lists tend to cluster into three main areas: email, reports, and meetings. Here is a list of the most common things they choose to stop:
1. Stop continuing email strings of more than three replies by picking up the phone or walking down the hall to talk to the other party.
2. Stop audible email alerts to prevent from constantly reacting to incoming emails.
3. Stop using “Reply All” with email.
4. Stop asking for reports that I do not use to make decisions and improvements.
5. Stop requesting reports that I do not review or do not use to make decisions/changes.
6. Stop allowing upward delegation by asking “What do you recommend?”
7. Stop holding “meetings after the meetings.”
8. Stop leaving most important items for last.
9. Stop scheduling meetings back-to-back each hour and instead schedule them for 45 minutes.
Stop these nine activities today and start winning tomorrow.