Doing less to do more


I recently resumed my conversation with Aspire Chicago’s President and CEO Jim Kales. In our previous discussion we discussed the tension inherent in organizations with the need to focus on what works and the need to explore new ways of doing things. This is productive tension, and part of a leader’s job is to choreograph this tension, and to hold it over time.

Doing something new often requires creating space and resources which can mean letting something go. “Every approach to innovation costs something,” writes author Jeff DeGraff, the aptly named Dean of Innovation. “--every kind of creation involves creative destruction--which is why some of the most effective decisions to enable innovation are more about stopping current practices than starting new ones.”

This reality doesn’t get the headlines when we consider innovation, and internalizing the idea is hard to do. Jim Kales calls this doing less to do more. And Kales, along with his board and leadership team, have made careful examination of current practices a part of their regular routine. This enables them to constantly improve practices that still serve the vision and abandon those that do not, and to free space for new ways of chasing down its vision.

Click below to hear more about how Jim Kales is doing this at Aspire Chicago.