Your Not-to-Do List

If you’re like most people, you’re working on a list of resolutions for 2011: Eat healthy. Go to the gym more. Read the classics. But Peter Drucker would have likely asked you for a different kind of list: What are you going to stop doing?

As we’ve noted before, Drucker believed that “planned abandonment” is among the most important things that any organization can engage in. After all, shedding yesterday’s products, programs and policies is the only way to make room for the innovations of tomorrow.

But Drucker was also adamant that this same discipline should extend beyond the organization to the individual. That’s the only way one can ensure that he or she maintains proper focus and protects what for many of us is the most precious resource of all: our time.

[EXPAND More]“The job is . . . not to set priorities,” Drucker wrote in The Effective Executive, his 1967 classic. “That is easy. Everybody can do it.  The reason why so few executives concentrate is the difficulty of setting ‘posteriorities’—that is, deciding what tasks not to tackle—and of sticking to the decision.”

In a 2004 interview with Forbes, Drucker asserted that leaders, in particular, need to make the setting of posteriorities—well, a priority. “The most dangerous traps for a leader are those near-successes where everybody says that if you just give it another big push it will go over the top,” Drucker said. “One tries it once. One tries it twice. One tries it a third time. But by then it should be obvious this will be very hard to do. So, I always advise my friend Rick Warren (the pastor at Saddleback Church), ‘Don’t tell me what you’re doing, Rick. Tell me what you stopped doing.’”

How about you? What do you pledge to stop doing in 2011?[/EXPAND]