Let go of things.
Not long ago as Chewy and I made our morning trek I saw a shiny object on the ground. In the early morning dark it's hard to tell sometimes what things are until you're right on them, so we stepped closer and I saw it was a CD.
You know, one of those old-fashioned plastic discs where magnetized data is placed to make music. A CD.
Now, I am old enough to remember when CDs were actually new. I'll never forget when someone gave me my first CD (The Who) and I said, “what's this?”
But I digress.
The point is in the here and now CDs are functionally obsolete. There's really no reason to have them. I began to wonder then, as we walked in quietude, what the story might be of someone still hanging on to CDs.
It got me thinking about all the ways we hang on to things in life that don't work well any more but yet, are still a part of our lives.
Here then, a sampler of things you might want to reconsider as the year wanes and CDs and related items continue to fade into obsolescence.
- Policies – Are you still following policies that were meant for the 1970s? Is your flextime practice the difference between starting work at 7:30 or 8? Take a look at the things you're asking your people to follow in the office, and ask yourselves how many rules you need. A good rule of thumb is to eliminate a practice anytime you add one. Make sure your policies are necessary, first, and then relevant number two. And if you are still printing handbooks? Just stop. Put your information on line like the rest of the world.
- Stovepipe Thinking – If your workplace still requires people to work up one chain before cross-communicating to another and then sending messages back down, well, your competition is killing you as you sleep. The world doesn't work in rigidity anymore, collaboration is how every new entrant to the workforce thinks and behaves. Blame technology, blame the web, blame Steve Jobs, just deal with the fact that people think in collective collaboration today – working through a resistant hierarchy is inconsistent with that. Ideas will suffocate, people will leave, business will fail. Capisce?
- Relationships – At work and home we sometimes stay in relationships because we're too numb to check in and see if they work for us any longer. Toxic boss? Move. Unhealthy partner? Work things out. Cancerous coworkers? Make new friends. The point is we don't have to stay in relationship just because we used to be. Like the CDs of old things that at one point worked can reach the end of a useful lifespan. Do yourself a favor and stay in touch with how your relationships should be – and do the work to keep them there.
I like old things, like my robe, heavy and worn and full of color: it's been with me a long time. And it's still with me today because I've found no better way to stay cozy and comfortable in the chill of the morn.
Don't jettison practice, policy and friends simply because they're old. Like my robe they may get better over time. But don't be afraid to examine these things in your life, and if you reach the point where these elements are as useless as a CD in a car built with Bluetooth, ask yourself if it's time to let them go.
Not everything old is worth keeping.