3 Tips for Creating Space for Change

Everybody talks about change and innovation, but why are so few of us actually doing it? Lisa Bodell, CEO of futurethink and author of Kill the Company, shares three tips on creating space for change to happen.

We all wake in the morning and want our day to include meaningful work. Attending inconsequential meetings or replying to trivial emails is not meaningful work, yet this is how thousands of business leaders and employees I’ve worked with spend their days. These tasks drain our spirits and sap our time, leaving zero space for change. So how can we make more space? To allocate time for valuable work in 2016, consider the three ideas below.

  • Identify your time-sucks

Track your work for a week. List, in great detail, all the tasks you perform and for how long. Are you spending 20 hours on update meetings, when you could be devoting that time to something more valuable? If you were to stop doing these tasks that don’t add value, what would happen? Challenge yourself to eliminate or dramatically minimize one of these tasks completely.

  • Create a code of conduct (And hold yourself to it)

If you want change to happen, change your approach. To do more meaningful work, commit to eradicating complexity and making simplification your new ethos. To establish new work habits, compose a code of conduct that addresses problem areas for you (and your team). For example: I will:

  • Eliminate redundancies and unnecessary work, and empower my team to do the same.
  • Not create false urgency.
  • Push back if I think something is unnecessary.
  • Use clear, jargon-free language when I communicate.
  • Keep my emails, documents, meetings, and conversations short.

Make it stick by posting it near your computer to encourage mindfulness. A month from now, you’ll find yourself reflexively asking these questions (and ideally, extending them to other aspects of your work life).

  • Kill a Stupid Rule

It’s easy to go along with the status quo and not question the rules that have been put in place. But what if that rule has passed its prime? Ask your team what two rules would they kill that are holding them back from innovating. Maybe it’s too many reports that can be condensed and simplified; maybe it’s a cultural assumption that’s not even a rule! Either way, this gets the conversation flowing about how to change policy in your workplace.

These are just a few ideas to eliminate complexity and simplify your work in 2016. Once you make these tips a habit, you’ll be able to get to the work that is really meaningful and make your year as efficient and innovative as possible.

Lisa Bodell is the founder and CEO of an award-winning innovation firm that helps businesses embrace change and become world-class innovators.  Contact BigSpeak Speakers Bureau to learn how a change management or innovation expert can increase your ROI.