4 Questions to Help You Decide What to Stop Doing

Guest Post by Mark Miller

Did you know that some of your most important decisions as a leader are what to STOP doing?

The “Stop Doing List” is an idea introduced to the world by Peter Drucker (he called it “Planned Abandonment”) and popularized by Jim Collins. The idea is both simple and complex at the same time…

👉The SIMPLE part – Stop doing the activities that add little or no value, or those activities requiring time and energy that could be redeployed to more value-added activities.

👉 The COMPLEX part – Trying to decide what to stop doing, overcoming the emotional attachment to current work, and mustering the courage to make the call.

How do you decide what to stop doing?

Here are four questions that may help:

1. What is the real value of the activity?

The work we do, and the activities of our organizations, should add value.  If there is no value, why would we do it?

2. What are alternative uses for the time and resources?

Let’s say you are evaluating something you do that requires four hours a week of your time.  Make a list of alternate uses for those four hours.  Let your imagination run wild.

3.  What are you afraid will happen if you stop the current work?

Confronting our fears is rarely fun but often profitable.  One popular fear associated with stopping work is the reaction from others.. Many times our fears are unfounded and the risk of stopping a program or activity is minimal.

4. What are the likely benefits, tangible and emotional, for stopping the work?

You know as well as I do, the future is a tenuous place.  There are no guarantees our actions will have the desired effect.  What benefits do you believe you will accrue if you stop doing the work in questions?

There are no great leaders without great courage.

A “Stop Doing List” is an outstanding tool to strengthen our courage and our leadership.

Mark Miller


Mark Miller  Co-Founder of Lead Every Day.  Previously Mark was the Vice President of High Performance Leadership for Chick-fil-A, Inc.  Mark is the author of 11 books with over a million copies of his books in print, in twenty-five languages. Culture Rules is his eleventh  title.


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