Author Greg McKeown makes a habit of saying “No.”
In Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, McKeown lays out a sound rationale for saying “Yes” less, and for focusing our attention and energy on fewer things. However, those “fewer things” are not haphazardly selected. One of the principles he describes is this. “As you evaluate an option, think about the single most important criterion for that decision, and then simply give the option a score between 0 and 100. If you rate it any lower than 90%, change the rating to zero and simply reject it.”
Essentialism is a disciplined pursuit, as described by McKeown. It is vital that you establish a meaningful and measurable intent. Because you are going to be highly focused on a few things, it is critical that you first explore a broad range of options. And don’t be reflexive in saying “yes.” “If the answer is not a definitive yes, then it should be no.”
What would happen if you brought essentialism to your change methodology and change team? Would you be able to successfully do more by doing less? Here are some Essentialism guidelines. What does your methodology look like through this lens?
- “Summon the discipline to get rid of options or activities that may be good, or even really good, but that get in the way.”
- “An essentialist produces more—brings forth more—by removing more instead of doing more.”
- “Make the essential the default position.”
- “Focus on each team member’s highest role and goal of contribution.”
Essentialism doesn’t come easily, but it has the potential to yield big rewards.
Brian Gorman is the Managing Editor of Change Management Review™. In this capacity he regularly curates articles of importance to our readership; contributes original writing; hosts podcasts; and works with guest authors.
For more than five decades Brian has been engaged in—and a student of—change at the personal, organizational, and societal levels. During this time, he has worked with both individuals and organizations (ranging from solo practitioners to Fortune 100 businesses), guiding them through a wide array of challenges. Decades of experience have given him a deep appreciation of the universal patterns that underlie successfully navigating even the most difficult changes.
In addition to his work as our Managing Editor, Brian is a transformation coach, supporting both individual and organizational change. Brian is committed to passing his “lessons learned” on to others, so that their change journeys can advance more smoothly. He is a frequent workshop facilitator and public speaker. Brian is the author of “The Hero and the Sherpa,” a chapter in the online Handbook of Personal and Organizational Transformation (Springer Publishing; Judi Neal, Editor). He also has an extensive library of blog posts, articles, and videos on the change journey, including “The Ten Most Important Lessons I Have Learned Over 50 Years of Engaging Change.”
Mr. Gorman’s formal education includes a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Syracuse University, an MA in Higher Education Administration from the University of Texas, San Antonio and an MA in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma.
Brian is an International Coach Federation (ICF) certified coach, and is an active member in the New York City chapter. Brian is also a member of the Forbes Coaches Council and the Gay Coaches Alliance.
Great stuff! Most of us would benefit from thinking/working this way. (I’d say more, but is it really necessary…?)