A Better Way to Solve Problems
I recently did a 2 Day Recruiting Workshop at a school in Chicago. On the morning of the 2nd day, I asked everyone who was feeling overwhelmed with a ton of good ideas but had no idea how to cram anything new into an already overpacked schedule.
I went on to explain that as coaches, when we have an issue with getting kids to respond to your first message, they are ghosting you at some part of the process, they are delaying getting the visit scheduled, or are dragging on making a decision, our inherent and primitive default compulsion is to add more things because that is how to fix or improve what’s not working.
My message to these coaches at the workshop was that subtraction or simplification and removing stuff is often the better way to make things better and solve complex problems. Or at least considering what they could eliminate was the place they should start.
It’s kind of like when an asshole (or PC- bad culture kid) from your team leaves and all of a sudden, things get better with everyone else.
So today, let’s investigate a few areas of your life where you might start looking to subtract some stuff to make other stuff better.
Let’s talk about recruiting first. What would you normally think you should do if you want to get more quality or quantity commitments for your next class?
Your compulsion would probably be to add more names to your database, even though you have quite a few names already. Add more social media posts. Add more communication channels. Add more email follow ups to unresponsive recruits. Adding more recruiting events that you will be at. Or maybe even add more recruiting meetings to talk over the recruits you have been talking to for a while.
In reality, you should probably subtract and eliminate most of the low probability endeavors that I just mentioned.
Subtraction will allow you to refocus your time, attention, and creative capacity to your fastest, easiest or most efficient highest probability efforts.
Some examples of higher quality efforts for me where these things:
- I would ask kids to commit when I was ready for them to say yes and was able to move things along faster.
- Instead of making a massive to-do list, I set a certain objective based metric on where I needed to get my top recruits to and eliminated all other activities.
- We cultivated more referrals from our exited already existing freshman or new commits and their parents instead of adding a lot of new names.
- We focused on asking better questions because we realized that there’s probably 80% of those that should be subtracted from our efforts in order to get more love and energy to the deserving 20% that have already proven to be highly responsive.
Those were things that I did. I doubled down on what I knew was working for us and eliminated most of the rest.
What could you eliminate so you can double down on other areas?
Do you see how subtraction is the better answer even though your first inclination might have been to add?
To give you another example, for me, I found the best way to be a better parent was to subtract.
Instead of adding more hours that I was home so I could show up to more practices, recitals, games, or be able to volunteer at their school to making cookies for the bake sale, I work to subtract all of other demands, obligations and distractions on my attention when I’m home with my kids so that I can be fully present and engaged with my family.
When I wanted to get fit or be healthier, I started with what I needed to subtract from my diet and lifestyle before I focused on what I might have needed to do additionally.
Moving forward, when presented with a problem or when trying to improve something, first take a minute to consider what should be subtracted, even if only to bring to the surface and the forefront what should be prioritized and focused on.
What I’ve covered can be an absolute game changer in being able to problem solve and accelerate your improvement, if you take action on what was discussed here.
Are you with me here? Was that helpful?
To your success,