The Power of Less: Crafting a Stop Doing List for Business Success - Tilson


The Power of Less: Crafting a Stop Doing List for Business Success

Strategy & Planning | January 2024

Written by: Tilson President & CEO Brent R. Tilson

As we welcome a new year, it’s a pivotal time for business leaders to engage in thoughtful reflection and strategic planning. Traditionally, the focus has been on what new objectives and tasks to undertake. However, equally important is considering what to remove from our agendas. This approach, often overlooked, involves creating a “stop doing” list – a strategic tool for enhancing efficiency and focusing on what truly matters.

It’s about discerning between activities that drive our businesses forward and those that, while they may have been essential at one point, now serve as distractions or inefficiencies. This concept isn’t just about trimming the fat; it’s a profound reevaluation of where our time, resources, and energies are best invested to align with our core objectives and long-term vision for growth and success.

In this article, we’ll delve into creating an effective “stop doing” list for the new year. We’ll discuss strategies like reevaluating core functions for potential outsourcing, moving away from micromanaging daily operations to focus on broader goals, and emphasizing high-impact activities.

Reevaluating Core Functions

I have found that many companies are highly focused on delivering high-quality products and services to their customers; however, their internal operating systems often get the least amount of attention. The goal of your underlying core business operations is to provide the business the critical support to meet its basic needs. The most common internal systems are accounting, IT and HR. If these are not efficient and effective, then they are a detraction – they waste valuable resources, increase risk, and take precious time away from focusing on the value proposition of the business. They become a major drain on RPE (revenue per employee) and ROI (return on investment).

Businesses should contemplate outsourcing non-core functions to specialized external partners. This move can free up valuable internal resources and allow for a greater focus on core competencies. Additionally, administrative tasks that are time-consuming but not directly contributing to business goals should be delegated or automated. It’s also crucial to eliminate inefficient processes within the organization, replacing them with more streamlined and effective solutions.

In my article written for Forbes, I advise that business leaders ask three critical questions when evaluating an outsourcing decision:

  • Competitive Advantage: Do these business functions differentiate us or give us a competitive advantage in the market?
  • Risk Mitigation: How important is it to mitigate the risk if it isn’t done correctly or in a timely fashion? 
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis: Does the cost of managing it internally exceed the value it brings to the organization?  

Focusing on High-Impact Activities:

Identifying and focusing on high-impact activities, or “$10,000 moments” as I call it, is essential. These are tasks or decisions that a leader makes that adds this value to the bottom line of their business. The role of the leader is to continuously increase the organization’s overall value. By increasing the number of $10,000 moments they effectively do just that. These moments can take many shapes and forms and not all of them are easily identifiable, but they happen. Some are easy such as making the decision to increase prices or renegotiating a supplier contract. However, others may be the result of looking at your daily activities, scheduled appointments, and goals to identify those that are not adding value to the organization or can be delegated to someone else.  

For example, it’s easy to read and respond to emails but it continuously pulled me back into daily operations, thus, after a few years I made the decision to have my assistant manage my emails and it was truly a $10,000 moment for me. Now I can be more attentive to leading my organization and not pulled into the continuous race to keep my email inbox empty.

Micromanaging Daily Operations

For business owners, a crucial adjustment is to move away from micromanaging daily operations. This involves delegating routine tasks like team coordination and client communications to capable team leaders, freeing up time for broader strategic planning. Encouraging employees to solve operational issues independently fosters trust and innovation. Stepping back from micromanagement allows business leaders to focus on larger goals, empowers teams, and creates a more dynamic work environment, enhancing both productivity and job satisfaction. This strategic shift is essential for both personal efficiency and organizational growth.


In conclusion, as business leaders plan for the year ahead, it is crucial to prioritize assessing activities and making strategic choices about what to stop doing. This approach will streamline operations and align the business closer to its core objectives and values. By focusing on core functions, evaluating outsourcing opportunities, avoiding micromanaging daily operations and concentrating on high-impact activities, businesses can set themselves up for sustained growth and success.

Take my business assessment today and receive a complimentary copy of my book: Go Slow to Grow Fast: Driving and Thriving in a Fast-Paced, Competitive Business World, published by ForbesBooks.

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