The art of timely quitting!

“ In the end I thought,
I'm going to stop this program.
It's a very good program, I think.
At least a lot has been achieved, let me put it more modestly.
But fifteen years is fifteen years.
It is beautiful, it was beautiful and has been beautiful”

The Netherlands is experiencing an unprecedented crisis. The country is immersed in a lockdown. The Netherlands is rigorously curbing the coronavirus with rules that apply to an acute war situation. It is March 27, 2020. Today the very last De Wereld Draait Door can be seen. In his unique way, Mathijs van Nieuwkerk announces the end of his program. The result is tranquil living rooms. The sparks of this iconic television program have now finally extinguished. With beautiful words, Mathijs teaches us that stopping in time is important when something no longer gives you the energy it used to have.

Shouldn't we follow Mathijs as an example more often? Just stop in time! In a world of excess, there is so much to stop. Stop pointless meetings, stop pointless projects, stop low-yielding products or even quit your job! Organizations want to stop, but they are unable to do so or fail to do so in time or completely. They only stop when there is a crisis or when everyone is home sick. Due to the lack of perspective, too many driven people have dropped out and become cynical. That's a waste of talent. Wouldn't it be wonderful if things became less? That which is unnecessary is thrown overboard. Because less saves on burden and provides space and peace. Who would not want that?

It is a kind of law of nature that organizations must change. Darwin's theory of evolution makes us see change as something inevitable. Organizations and teams therefore pay a lot of attention to 'new', to better and to different. Organizations are increasingly changing approaches and strategies to be resilient to future scenarios. Changes are happening more and more rapidly. The ink on one plan is not yet dry before the next change announces itself. Not much sticks, and halfway through the course is changed again. But why don't we stop in time? Just stop in time with what we already know is lost. This is due to the prevailing belief that quitting is by definition losing. Unfortunately, stopping is a taboo.

By ‘stopping’ we gain the much-needed space to grow. After all, growth requires space. If you keep adding something new, there is simply no room for innovation. Innovation is suffocated by everything that is already there. Quitting is actually about spending time and energy. What takes up too much of your time and energy because you continue with it for too long? One way to find out is to ask; “What will be gained if we continue with this?” And you actually already know the answer to this question....

Ruud Olijve

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