I’ll admit it, ever since I started writing this blog, I’ve been much more aware of potential leadership lessons lurking in the mundane circumstances of life. I discovered another one this past week.

We’re moving. As we began packing the boxes, it was obvious to me how much we’d accumulated since our last move. This realization led to a fascinating conversation with my wife about de-cluttering our lives. My mind immediately went to my leadership. What is the clutter I’ve accumulated as a leader that’s hindering my impact? Here are a few ideas to consider.

Meetings – I’m actually a fan of meetings done correctly. Meetings are an opportunity to enhance your effectiveness and increase your impact. However, my experience is most meeting fail to pass the test. Do you attend meetings that are a waste of your time? If so, my first recommendation is to try and make them more productive. If that doesn’t work, try to eliminate them. If you can’t make that happen, perhaps you can stop attending. Meetings done poorly are clutter in a leader’s life.

Programs – Are you offering programming that is not adding as much value as it once did? This programming can come in countless forms: Training events, recognition events, on-line courses, periodic communications like newsletters or memos, community service programming, etc. Some of this is undoubtedly good; some of it has probably become clutter. I know a globally renowned leader who evaluates EVERY program his organization provides on an annual basis. The decision is always one of three choices: Continue, Enhance or Abort. This level of rigor tends to keep the programming clutter under control.

Methods – Are you still doing some things the way you did five years ago? If so, you should take a hard look at your methods. A lot has changed in the world in the last five years – much of it driven by technology. The way you do virtually everything can become antiquated in a hurry. Everything from how you do performance management to recruiting to on-boarding to training to career planning to space planning has changed in the world in the recent past. And, there are no signs of the change curve slowing down. When you get caught in past methods, you create inefficiency and clutter.

Clutter in a leader’s life is not an easy issue to resolve! For me, it’s much harder than throwing away sporting equipment I haven’t used in a decade. When we decide to de-clutter our leadership world, the choices are often difficult and the consequences are real. That’s why I believe this will be an on-going issue for us as leaders.

If you want to go a little deeper on the topic, let me remind you, I’ve written two other posts about this challenge: What Should I Stop Doing? and When Less is More. Both these posts may help you as you work to enhance your effectiveness by removing clutter from your leadership world.

As we think about our next move, my bias is to de-clutter as much as possible before the movers arrive. Regarding the New Year, I’m on the lookout for opportunities to practice this same discipline in my leadership.

Here’s to a less cluttered 2014![GLS_Shield]

What do you need to de-clutter in your leadership?

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Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.