The Power of Stopping

The Power of Stopping

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

If when you write your monthly report no one responds with a question of clarification or constructive comment, this may be a sign your organization places little value on your report and the work it stands for.

If someone sends a thank you email and do not mention something specific in your report, this masked disinterest is a half-step above non-interest and is likely also a sign your organization places little value on your report and the work it stands for.

If you want to know for sure what people think of your work, stop writing your report. If no one complains, your work is not valuable to the company. If one person complains, it’s likely still not valuable. And if that single complaint comes from your boss, your report/work is likely not broadly valuable, but you’ll have to keep writing the report.

But don’t blame the organization because they don’t value your work. Instead, ask yourself how your work must change so it’s broadly valuable. And if you can’t figure a way to make your work valuable, stop the work so you can start work that is.

If when you receive someone else’s monthly report and you don’t reply with a question of clarification or constructive comment, it’s because you don’t think their work is all that important. And if this is the case, tell them you want to stop receiving their report and ask them to stop sending them to you.

Hopefully, this will start a discussion about why you want to stop hearing about their work which, hopefully, will lead to a discussion about how their work could be modified to make it more interesting and important.

This dialog will go one of two ways – they will get angry and take you off the distribution list or they will think about your feedback and try to make their work more interesting and important.

In the first case, you’ll receive one fewer report and in the other, there’s a chance their work will blossom into something magical. Either way, it’s a win.

While reports aren’t the work, they do stand for the work. And while reports are sometimes considered overhead, they do perform an inform function – to inform the company of the work that’s being worked. If the work is amazing, the reports will be amazing and you’ll get feedback that’s amazing. And if the work is spectacular, the reports will be spectacular and you’ll get feedback that matches.

But this post isn’t about work or reports, it’s about the power of stopping. When something stops, the stopping is undeniable and it forces a discussion about why the stopping started. With stopping, there can be no illusion that progress is being made because stopping is binary – it’s either stopped or it isn’t. And when everyone knows progress is stopped, everyone also knows the situation is about to get some much-needed attention from above, wanted or not.

Stopping makes a statement. Stopping gets attention. Stopping is serious business.

And here’s a little-known fact: Starting starts with stopping.

Image credit: Pixabay

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