When my niece was in town, we visited an organic pig farm – combining her love of (all) animals and my desire to do activities that she couldn’t do at home in the big city. We learned from the farmer that he has a sustainable and profitable operation with 100 sows – one-fourth of the number he had a few years ago.

This contraction was done on purpose as he determined that he could meet the demand of his best customers with far fewer pigs – thus reducing his expenses and greatly increasing his quality of life. As a result, he cut out direct-to-consumer sales, focused on his key clients, sold some of his land and is doing quite well with a far more manageable number of animals.

It is the natural inclination of people to “add” in the quest to achieve “more”. We reflexively make additions to our to-do list, our product offerings, our calendar and our strategic plan. But, as was confirmed on the farm, the real magic comes when we subtract the right things.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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