How doing less can lead to better results

On the Camino to Santiago de Compostela back in 2013, I walked 900 km in 28 days. This weekend I just returned from walking 275 km on the Camino in 18 days together with my wife.

When you look at these numbers, you might notice a serious drop in average kilometers per day: going from 32 km per day in 2013 to 15 km per day in 2016. I loved every step of the Camino in 2013, yet there was one thing I said afterward: “on my next Camino I will take more time” and that’s exactly what we did.

There were two things that I quickly noticed. First, it takes some time to get used to a new walking pace. In fact, it took me a week before I was comfortable in this new, slower, pace. Secondly, I also noticed that going slower can lead to better results. I experienced much more of our surroundings than I did in 2013, which resulted in many more photo opportunities. In fact, my “photo per kilometer ratio” tripled compared to 2013. As an avid photographer that is a good thing!

There are two pieces I read during these Camino weeks that I like to highlight. Firstly, I read an article by Stephan Aarstol, titled “What happened when I moved my company to a 5-hour work day“. In this article Stephan describes how he changed the way of working in his company. One of the 5 main elements to make it possible, is focus: applying the 80/20 rule and thus concentrating on the 20% activities that deliver 80% of the results. As a result of a thoroughly implemented 5 hour work day, the annual results of Stephan’s company went up by 40%.

The second piece I’ve been reading is the latest book by Patrick Lencioni “The ideal team player“. The essence of this book is about how selecting and nurturing ideal team players minimizes friction and increases collaboration and productivity. In Patrick’s own style he first describes it in a fable and then dives into the theory of the concept. A concept that builds on the fact that ideal team players possess three underlying virtues: they are humble, hungry and smart.

Now, think about combining these two concepts in your work: focus on the right things (the 20%) and with the right people (or partners). How much time will it save you, how much more productive will you be and how much more fun will you have?

PS: Adjusting to doing less by focussing on the right things, with the right team players will take time, just like adjusting to a new walking pace took me a week. When you need guidance or when you feel that there are too many obstacles to make this work for you, then contact me for a call with me to discuss and explore if a fresh outside-in view might help you.

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