Less is More

Susan Cramm in Harvard Business:

With the cash crunch, focus is coming back in style. A lot of people are hoping for a future — both professionally and personally — that will be, in the words of Peggy Noonan, “pared down, more natural, more stable, less full of enervating overstimulation, of what Walker Percy call the “trivial magic” of modern times.”

During the “good times” only 10% of managers lived in a state of purposefulness, defined by clarity of intentions and vigor that is fueled by intense personal commitment (with the balance of managers operating in a state of disengagement, procrastination, or distraction.)

There are many who believe that these “bad times” will bring a kind of satisfying scarcity. That companies (and families) will start focusing on what’s most important by stripping the “nice but not necessary” out of their daily existence.

Consider the case of Frontier Airlines, managing through Chapter 11 bankruptcy-court protection. Given the severe shortage of resources, they reduced the number of IT projects from a few hundred to just 10. Instead of each person having three projects, every project now has five people. The impact of moving 10 balls a mile versus 300 balls an inch? In the words of the CIO, “I believe we are getting more done, but I also believe that we are getting better value done.

Focus is quite important and I am learning that personally. After the birth of my daughter I realized the number of things that I could cut down and still be happy and productive.

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