Survive Or Thrive? 3 Rules For Success In The Age of Overload

What do Satya Nadella, Marc Bernioff and Arianna Huffington all have in common? They know how to thrive in the age of overload. Today, business is inherently more complex than it has ever been. The moment you enter the office, you are suddenly exposed to a huge amount of bureaucracy, rules, procedures, and protocols to follow. According to a recent McKinsey study, organizational complexity (number of procedures, structures, processes, systems, vertical layers, and decision approvals) has increased by a factor of thirty-five in the last six years.

Growth Creates Complexity And Complexity Kills Growth.

Too much complexity is not only frustrating it also wastes time, erodes productivity and kills growth. As our BMI (bureaucratic mass index) continues to rise it’s time fight back with three simple rules. 

 1. Say No Fast And Mean It.

The word “urgent” is one of the most overused words in the age of overload. It forces you to react rather than think. The fact is that everyone will always want you to prioritize their needs before yours. You lose control of your day and your agenda, making it impossible to fulfil your own priorities. If being productive sometimes means being selfish, so be it. Effective entrepreneurs protect their time and know the difference between busy work and their best work.

2. Be A Chief Purpose Officer.

Look at Larry PageElon Musk and Reid Hoffman. They know their why, their leadership purpose and match it with focus and speed. They are Chief Purpose Officers that follow three simple principles. First, clarify your purpose and don’t just focus on career, focus on a legacy. Second, simplify everything – that means deleting, replacing and updating all your processes in order to be nimble and fast. Third, multiply your imagination by a factor of 10 whether it’s thinking big on vision or increasing your team’s success tenfold. Being a Chief Purpose Officer means turning talk into action – it’s the golden thread that links all great entrepreneurs from Jeff Bezos to Steve Jobs.

3. Avoid The Perfection Trap.

Don’t wait for the mirage of perfection to arrive before you launch a business or reinvent  your company. It will never happen and can result in extreme stress or worse. Many entrepreneurs are trapped in this self-sabotaging mindset. Imagine if Airbnb or Square had held back until all the possible fixes had been made? They probably would not be where they are today. Wait for perfection and opportunities are lost forever.

Fight Back.

We are all consumed by ‘the cult of accessibility’, and entrepreneurs are no exception. The people who need to pay attention the most, are often the most at risk of distraction. The people who need to focus are often the most fatigued. Are you ready to survive or thrive? 

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Stella Densmore