I am more and more amazed by The Effective Executive. In thinking about all of our assignments, and considering how difficult it is to truly boil it down to the main priority right now, I tripped across this gem: "The first rule for the concentration of executive efforts is to slough off the past that has ceased to be productive. Effective executives periodically review their work programs–and those of their associates–and ask: ‘If we did not already do this, would we go into it now (p. 104)?’" That is a huge question that could be asked, ought to be asked, in all kinds of organizations. Think about the programs you’re currently running. Think about the programs that are budgeted. What if each of them had to make this cut?
As I think about the areas I’ve been responsible for over the last 20 years there is no question that many times I’ve been unable to get traction and make the most obvious opportunities happen, mostly as a result of misallocated budget dollars. As I’ve said many times, it’s not the survival of the most passionate. It is the survival of the group that has over time developed the skills/traits that enable them to hold committee meetings that result in calendering 2 years ahead and submit carefully documented budget requests early. Regardless of the potential impact of their program…they’ve evolved into something that is perfect for organizations that make allocations based not on potential, but on following the procedures.
Carl George said, "Leaders allocate the finite resources of the organization to THE critical growth path." Leaders are not swayed by the past. They’re motivated by the future.