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Strategic quitting

In principle, quitting is underrated. Of course we know that persistence often leads to success; and that success sometimes requires “hanging in there.” But persistence and “hanging in there” can also lead to losing money, losing health, and losing friends.

In spite of the “succeed at all costs” ethic that often surrounds us, quitting is often the best decision. Walking away is often the most practical thing to do, especially when it’s thoughtful, deliberate, strategic.

When groups do strategic planning they are often quick to add programs, products and services, but reluctant to make cuts. This results in strategic plans that are unrealistic on paper or unsustainable in reality. For strategic planning to result in realistic and sustainable plans, cuts must be considered.

Practical Tip: Do not overlook that quitting or leaving a relationship or cutting a program may in fact be the very best decision.

Don’t quit something on a whim or in anger or in haste, but if letting go or getting out really is the best strategy to achieve a higher objective, do it.

When strategic planning, don’t just decide what to add. Put equal thought into what to cut.

Groups waste energy and fall behind because they resist quitting something. Unfounded fear of cutting a program or a relationship can paralyze a group and cause huge expense. Quit while you are ahead.

– Craig Freshley

Click here for one-page PDF of this Tip, a great way to print or share.

8 thoughts on “Strategic quitting

  1. I completely agree with this tip. It is definitely applicable in dysfunctional relationships of all kinds or circumstances where something has outlived its purpose or benefit, whether that be administrative, personal, or between entities and programs. Thank you for your wisdom.

  2. I’m starting to get dependent on Craig’s tips.. how would I keep my ship on course…saying “no” .. is far harder than “yes”.. but often “no” is the best decision. Thanks Craig.

  3. Well said, Craig. It reminds me of the quote I’ve heard attributed to W. C. Fields: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No sense being a damned fool about it.”

  4. Dark drives are great for thoughtful communication. This is a prime, and often overlooked apparent backward move which is, on closer look, a step forward. Plus, it builds strength and confidence. Thanks for another great tip!

  5. This was on my list of things to do today. Three cheers for strategic cutting. Often times less is more and walking away takes more courage than staying put.

  6. Just want to thank my colleague Melanie Nichols for the inspiration for this Tip – a car conversation through the dark on Route 1 between Rockland and Brunswick, Maine.

  7. This tip is one of the most important suggestion when doing strategic planning. Cutting maybe the only way to achieve the long range goal, but emotions get into the way of logic and sound thoughtful consideration of the organization situation.

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