3 Deresolutions to Start the New Year


Mike Bonem says effective leaders are strategic in deciding what not to do. He advocates resolving to drop inconsequential tasks and delegate work peripheral to your core responsibilities as well as tasks that would help other leaders develop.

A few weeks into the new year, the majority of people have already broken their New Year resolutions. So, this year, why not make a “deresolution” instead? Resolutions are about what we’re going to do — exercise, diet, read, etc. A deresolution is what you will not do or stop doing.

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, explains that in his research he found that the great leaders “made as much use of ‘stop doing’ lists as ‘to do’ lists. They displayed a remarkable discipline to unplug all sorts of extraneous junk.” Deciding what you need to stop doing and following through on that decision is not a step backward. It could be your biggest step forward this year.

But what should you stop doing? Here are three types of deresolutions for you to consider:

1. Drop

What things don’t need to be done at all? Is it the monthly report that no one reads? The weekly meeting that has little value? Or the program that produces little fruit? You need to call it what it is: a waste of time. Then put an end to it.

2. Delegate

What are the things that need to be done — but not by you? First chair leaders and others in senior leadership roles should periodically ask, “Where can I make a unique and significant contribution to our organization’s success?” Whatever you’re doing that falls outside of this target is a candidate for delegation to someone else.

3. Develop

Sometimes, delegating tasks feels like you are “dumping” responsibilities on someone else. But handing off some responsibilities is a way to develop other people around you. This isn’t about who will do the task best today but rather how to prepare yourself, other leaders, and the organization for the future.

It’s not too late to make a deresolution for this new year. What are the things you will decide not to do in order to advance your leadership and the leadership of others?

This article originally appeared as a post on mikebonem.com. Used by permission.

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About Author

Mike Bonem is a facilitator and consultant with Texas Methodist Foundation (TMF). Previously, he was Executive Pastor of West University Baptist Church in Houston. He is the author or coauthor of several books. He recently wrote The Art of Leading Change: Ten Perspectives on the Messiness of Ministry (Fortress Press, 2022), available from the publisher and at Cokesbury and Amazon. He blogs at mikebonem.com.


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