Doing Less of the Same | In-Between the Pages

The River Flows Where it Goes (Image: Shawn Ward)

Things are continually changing. It is the one thing you can almost always count on. So this means that every strategy you can come up with that leads to the way up (success, progress, a promotion) can ultimately become the wrong one or lead to the way down (failure, missed opportunity, stagnation).

Some examples. What you say to your current team to motivate them at the start of the year could back fire if used to motivate the team half way into the year. Or, if you got kids, what was effective parenting when they were two can make them hate you as a teenager. What brought you results starting out as a manager might be destructive when you mature into your role.

“The way up and the way down are one and the same.” – Heraclitus

There are times then, to be successful, we have to be okay with letting go of the strategy that helped us attain success in the first place. One strategy held dear is a great way to get nowhere with our goals or focuses.

Many times after figuring that out we try to throw more resources at the challenge expecting it to work. Instead things become more complex, take on a new life we never intended them to become, and then undesirable things begin to happen.

In like fashion, adding people to a strategy or work stream can cause it to function less smoothly. Just adding more people to it becomes more opinions, personalities, and ideas to manage. What once we thought was a wise thing to do creates unexpected problems that were never apparent as the team starts to rip themselves apart. To many chiefs.

Before you increase the size of your brain trust of people take yourself through some of these reflective questions:

  • Is this strategy your going to even use the one you want to keep using? Hate to increase more talent to take on a challenge, only to find out you had the wrong line of sight to the type of challenge you were tackling. Your team will resent you and abandon you.
  • What would be the consequences if you greatly transformed its scale? Less is usually more. Play through the scenarios that can happen before you add the actual horsepower to it. We didn’t get to the moon by just adding more thrust to the rocket.
  • Conversely, is there an approach that you once rejected earlier on that could be a perfect strategy in your current strategy? Good ideas never die, they get reborn. The can evolve.

In Heraclitus’ worldview, things are continually changing. You can be just as close to the top as the bottom. Count on it. Throwing a bunch of resource  at your challenges isn’t the answer and doing the same thing over again expecting different results is the true sense of insanity. Putting things on pause long enough to really get a clean line of sight and perspective will serve you well. Be prepared to find out what won the game previously is not going to win you the game today. Adapt and evolve.

Have a great Friday and thanks for reading.


One thought on “Doing Less of the Same | In-Between the Pages

  1. Great post! Such a helpful reminder to listen and be aware enough to let go and embrace something different whether that’s old or new.


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