Self Development
The Power of "STOP"

by Ashok Grover
Going to start some new initiatives as a part of your self-development? Just ask yourself - Are you sure that whatever you are doing at present, is all correct? Do you have unlimited resources to take on new initiatives? If your answer to both these questions is "Yes", this article is not for you.
Whenever the issue of leadership development comes up, the focus is always on some new initiative, some new learning or some new activity. I have noticed that very often, people start on this journey with a lot of enthusiasm; but are not able to sustain because any new initiative acts as a drain on the limited resources. It will put demands on your time, money, efforts etc. Very soon, the initial excitement takes back seat and it becomes another failure story. Certainly not a pleasant experience! So, how do you tackle such a scenario?

No doubt, with firm determination and a will to succeed, you can always manage to prioritize the things and achieve what you want. But, I would like to share with you quite a simple and effective formula. This can very well supplement even your new initiatives.

Any good development plan consists of two elements.
  1. To reinforce and make use of your strengths; and
  2. To improve on your weaknesses.
In this process, you move with the assumption that whatever you have learnt in the past is all good only. It is more so in case of the people who have been successful in their field. They fail to differentiate whether they have succeeded "because of certain traits" or "in spite of them." Let me quote what Peter Drucker says, "We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do. We don't spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half the leaders I have met don't need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop."

And yes, this third element of "STOP" is the formula I was talking about. While Peter Drucker is speaking specifically about behavioral traits, I would generalize it a little more. Whenever you stop a bad habit, it results in saving of some resource or the other. For example, if you stop a habit like smoking, you save money (and perhaps much more than that!); if it is gossiping, you save time; and if it is backbiting or criticizing your colleagues, you not only save time and peace of mind; but may save even relationships. So, it is for sure that you will save something or the other - time, money, efforts, relationship... Does it not give you a wonderful feeling?

Now, Don't you think that when you make any new development plan next time, it will be a good idea to add at least one 'stop' apart from a couple of new 'starts'? For sure, stopping one negative habit will release some of those scare resources and enable you to efficiently work on new starts, thus making your plan more workable as well as more effective.

Time to STOP now!
Ashok Grover is an expert in people assessment and focused executive / leadership coaching. He is Director at Skillscape, a company with a vision of Value Creation by enhancing people and organizational competencies.
His last assignment was with the JBM Group as Corporate Chief Human Resource Officer. He has over four decades of experience in operations, materials, information technology and people development with Parle Group, Mohan Meakins Group, Hawkins Cookers Limited and JBM Group.