Quitting Time

What do you need to quit? What is stopping you from quitting if you know you need to quit something?

Our church used to have the toughest time quitting anything that was already in place, but nothing should be continued just because there once was a need for it. That need could be gone now. Things should only be done because we currently have a need for it. I have had a quote hanging behind my computer for the last two years. It reads, "It seems essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate on what is most significant and important." That Soren Kierkegaard was a genius. We need to always evaluate whether the current practices that we are investing our lives into are helping us reach the goal we are trying to reach.

It is always useful to evaluate the needs as they currently are and figure out what is the best way to reach them. The answer is often different than the program that was developed for the needs we had five years ago. The change needed usually involves us quitting the program we once started for a past need so that we now have the time and resources freed up to meet the present need.

We typically view quitting as a bad thing, but quitting a program or a practice is one of the best things we can do as leaders. We need to be quitters.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, professor at Harvard Business School, wrote 12 Guidelines for Deciding When to Persist, When to Quit. Here are the twelve guiding questions to help us decide if we should quit.

 1. Are the initial reasons for the effort still valid, with no consequential external changes?
 2. Do the needs for which this a solution remain unmet, or are competing solutions still unproven or inadequate?
 3. Would the situation get worse if this effort stopped?
 4. Is it more cost-effective to continue than to pay the costs of restarting?
 5. Is the vision attracting more adherents?
 6. Are leaders still enthusiastic, committed, and focused on the effort?
 7. Are resources available for continuing investment and adjustments?
 8.Is skepticism and resistance declining?
 9. Is the working team motivated to keep going?
 10. Have critical deadlines and key milestones been met?
 11. Are there signs of progress, in that some problems have been solved, new activities are underway, and trends are positive?
12. Is there a concrete achievement — a successful demonstration, prototype, or proof of concept?
If you need help, I am here to help you quit. Quitting is necessary to grow and make progress. Let us quit together, so that we can grow together.