Though we tend to believe that business success begets further business success, in the majority of cases the exact opposite happens. To counter this paradoxical effect, you need to reduce your portfolio of activities by outsourcing IT services and other non-essential functions. Does this all sound odd to you? Read on to see how it works out.
Keep Your Eyes On the Goal
In what he terms “the clarity paradox”, leadership expert Greg McKeown observes the following vicious cycle. The road to success is knowing precisely what we want to do. Success, in turn, leads to more opportunities. More opportunities diffuse our efforts, and this diffusion undermines the sense of purpose that lead to our success in the first place.
Focus Means Letting Go
The way out of the clarity paradox is learning to let go. Every choice we make in our personal lives, careers or as leaders means not choosing all the other possible options. Since this is inevitable, we might as well come to terms with it instead of stressing over “what if”-s, argues business blogger Geoffrey James. On a management level, this means delegating as much as possible to focus only on what we do best, instead of trying to control everything. On an organizational level, this translates into staying flexible and efficient by filtering out the business functions that define the company and letting go of everything else – in practical terms, outsourcing IT services, HR and other tasks that require specialists but not us.
Make the Most Impact
What are those few business functions worth keeping? We must always aim for the highest point of contribution, where competence meets passion and demand, McKeown explains. In other words, a truly successful organization finds itself a well-defined area of activity at the intersection of what it does best, what it loves to do and what caters to a significant need in the world.
Ideally, this rationalizing of roles is not a once-in-a-lifetime turning point, but an ongoing process called “the disciplined pursuit of less”: constantly reducing and simplifying the scope of activities, deliberately eliminating the non-essential elements, even sacrificing seemingly terrific opportunities in order to stay focused. According to McKeown, this is what sets the best apart from the rest.
As for those non-core activities: one company’s time-waster is another one’s bread and butter. In the hands of trusted specialists, IT services and the like will contribute more to the success of your organization than if you tackled them in-house, assigning them time and resources much needed elsewhere.
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