This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Initiative Overload - saying "no" to 1,000 things

HBR this month has a great article on Too Many Projects by Rose Hollister and Michael D. Watkins. The essence of the article is that organizations have far too many projects, initiatives, efforts underway. And that they struggle to STOP that work - or not start it to begin with. The authors also appeared on the HBR IdeaCast to discuss the article, Stop Initiative Overload.

And [innovation] comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.
— Steve Jobs in "The Seed of Apple's Innovation" in BusinessWeek (12 October 2004)

Overproduction (too many projects = too much work-in-process) is a classic problem in organizations. I particularly like how the authors highlight the aspect that each person who has great ideas (and releases them to the organization) has their own measures and needs that are being supported. But that they don’t see how the new initiative/project affects the rest of the organization. And of course, the classic quote from Steve Jobs.

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