Human Performance and Achievement Resources
red line
Home Articles & Publications Directories Link Directories Topics Directory Specialized Interest Directories Performance & Productivity Blog Search

Accomplish 20 Times More by Eliminating Harmful Traditions and Establishing Help
by Donald Mitchell

You are already very busy. How can you accomplish more? A good place to begin is to stop doing what tradition dictates you must do that makes your performance less effective

If you already know what harmful traditions you and your organization are following that keep you from accomplishing 20 times more, you can focus on eliminating them.


Many people find it hard to challenge their old ways of doing business, especially when stalled by tradition. Here are some examples of how leaders have been able to erase harmful traditions:

• Pretend to be a new management team that has been asked to turn around the problems brought about by the prior management's complacency.

• Take the least productive tasks you do now and delegate them to someone else who will do them well and appreciate the opportunity. Encourage that person to delegate her or his least productive tasks in the same way. And so on.

• If the methods you've been using don't work, begin controlled experiments to test all other ways even ways that call for reversing your direction.

• Turn the best performer's approach into a simple process that those with no experience can duplicate through automated promptings.

• Make it easy and quick for customers to solve the problems they encounter. Assume customers will behave honestly where that assumption can help speed up results and ease problems. They'll reward you with continual word-of-mouth praise and increased loyalty.


Identify Your Organization's Traditions and Their Original Purposes

Most traditions start with a purpose, but others start by accident. Before changing something, you should find out if the tradition still serves some useful purpose by asking the following questions:

• What traditions does the organization have that slow down or increase the cost of accomplishing important results?

• What benefits do these traditions provide?

• What values were intended to be served by the traditions?

• What problems are created by the traditions?


Traditions are powerful management tools for reinforcing good habits. People are more willing to abandon their own traditions when they learn that another organization's different traditions have led to high performance.

• What traditions do other organizations have that speed up improvements, enhance the results, and effectively reduce costs?

• Which of these traditions are consistent with your organization's values?

• How could the traditions be made more consistent with and supportive of your organization's values?

• Which aspects of these traditions are exciting and fun for people in your organization?


What aspects of your organization do you want to have operating on automatic pilot for all employees? One of the best examples of automatic response is a tradition at Ritz-Carlton hotels. Whenever employees notice or are told by a guest about a problem, they have the responsibility to fix the problem immediately. That tradition ensures that guests receive quick, courteous solutions while feeling encouraged to bring problems to the staff's attention. Higher guest satisfaction and loyalty follow from that tradition.

To create or change traditions in your organization, ask the following questions:

• What are the three most useful traditions your organization could have?

• How can the new traditions be established so that everyone will be delighted?

• How can you employ elements of existing traditions with useful elements of these new traditions?

• What has been the best way that your organization has previously launched traditions?


With your new, helpful traditions replacing the harmful ones you have now, you will soon have much more time and energy to focus on creating ways to achieve 20 times more with the same time, effort, and resources.

Copyright 2007 Donald W. Mitchell, All Rights Reserved

Donald Mitchell may be contacted at

Donald Mitchell is chairman of Mitchell and Company, a strategy and financial consulting firm in Weston, MA. He is coauthor of six books including The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, and The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook. Free advice on accomplishing 20 times more is available to you by registering at =====> .


Home Articles & Publications Directories Link Directories Topics Directory Specialized Interest Directories Performance & Productivity Blog Search

Website and contents ©1997-2011 C.S. Clarke, Ph.D. (Except where otherwise noted. Articles and content from other contributors are copyright to their respective authors.) All rights reserved.