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“Necessary Endings” by Dr. Henry Cloud discusses the very real phase that every leader must go through in order to continue to grow and take their organizations to the next level - endings. WIth every new opportunity comes the difficult decision to end something else in order to have the ability to live a thriving life in your business or personal life.
Dr. Cloud says that a way to be proactive about endings is called pruning or actively ending things. He says that there are three kinds of pruning:
In order to prune well Dr. Cloud says that you need to know towards what standard you are pruning. You have to have to a good definition of what you want the outcome to look like and prune towards that. An example would be Jack Welch saying at GE that if a GE business unit could not be one or two in its market then it would be cut. That is a great example of pruning being forward-looking and strategic. Being strategic helps you to stay focused on the end goals knowing that you can let go of things which are not necessary.
As a notion pruning and letting go sounds great, but to do it can be harder for some than others. Dr. Cloud suggests taking a gut check to see how you feel towards endings in order to determine where your internal resistance lies. Second he says to make endings a normal occurrence instead of seeing it as a problem. Then you can align yourself with this process in order to be ready to implement them when the time comes. Every process has seasons of growth, nurturing, endings, etc. It is important to understand the reality of where you are by understanding your strategic focus and knowing the season you are in in order to determine the things that you may need to let go of.
Dr. Cloud hits on a key point here that some leaders are not able to face the reality of their situation and keep holding onto business units or strategies which are no longer working because either they worked so well before or they are having a hard time imagining what they would move towards. What are you holding onto that may be way past its shelf life?
Monica Thakrar has over 14 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.