Do you really need to start something new?

When we made the decision at Baxter to go through purposeful change to get better outcomes from our teams, there were some things we didn’t think about initially.

We were gaining awareness of all these things that we felt like we had to add on to our existing processes and procedures, but we didn’t have the capacity to handle them.

It took us about six months to realize that we needed to focus on what we should stop doing, instead of all the things we wanted to start. That corrected two issues, really. It resolved our capacity issue almost overnight. But it was also much easier to get buy-in from our teams to stop something that wasn’t working than it was to get them to add something to their already-full schedules.

After that experience, we did add one thing. Annually, we re-evaluate our processes. We ask how long a process takes us, what the details of that process are, and most importantly, why we’re doing it in the first place.

That’s a practice I highly recommend to other owners or executive. As your company grows, you should re-evaluate your processes and procedures. What worked last year might not work as well with the growth you’ll achieve this year. Or perhaps you had a significant change to your services or target market and your processes haven’t quite caught up with that change.

A lot of businesses I’ve seen spend a lot of energy working on what they’re going to start doing (or what their employees are going to start doing). Instead, it’s helpful to think of what you can stop doing. That will give you more capacity to do the things you want to start doing, and it will also prevent you wasting time on things you don’t need to be doing.

And involve your people in this process! If you’re a CEO and you know why a procedure’s in place, that’s a good thing, but the people who are performing it should also know why it’s being done and should be able to let you know whether or not it’s accomplishing the desired goal.

By asking our team members about what they think is or isn’t working, they’ve become more engaged in their jobs. And they’re more efficient at work, too.

So if you find that you need to make some big changes in the way your company takes care of business, that’s great. I encourage you to pursue that. But make sure you consider what you can stop doing—you’ll have an easier time getting buy-in for those changes, and you’ll streamline your processes and procedures.

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