Effective People Choose Which Plates To Smash

At some point we all find ourselves trying to spin too many plates at the same time. Resource allocation is a critical requirement of effectiveness. The difference between effective people and others is that effective people choose which plates to smash.

When we find ourselves in a position where we are trying to do too many things (and let’s be honest we’ve all been there) then something has to give. The analogy of  spinning plates is a good one. When we get to the point where we have too much to do then we are spinning too many plates. There are then only two possibilities, and keeping them all spinning isn’t one of them. Trust me I’ve tried and ended up surrounded by “broken crockery”.

Solution number one is you keep rushing around spinning like crazy until eventually you start missing things and plates come crashing down. This gets you back to the point where you only have the number of plates with which you can cope but you may have destroyed the best family crockery along the way.

The second solution is to follow the example of effective people. Choose which plates are the least valuable and deliberately smash them in order that you may concentrate on the important and valuable ones.

Some will say that there is a third way and that is to increase resources and employ more plate spinners. If your ultimate objective is growth then that can be a solution. Maybe you can buy a plate spinning machine and invest your way out of the problem. I’m not saying that this is wrong but the best way to do this is to sort out the resource problem before it happens. If you are already in the position of too much to do (too many plates spinning) you mut be very sure your investment will pay off before you lose your most valued business (or drop the most valuable plates). Once you get to the position where you are constantly fire fighting it is very difficult to invest your way out of it. Often moving back a pace will give you the time to sort things out before moving forward in an organised way.

It’s hard to do and involves some difficult conversations, especially with the clients / customers you are going to let down, but at the end of the day if the plates are going to drop anyway then this is the best way.

For most of us the 80:20 rule applies in that 80% of the contribution to our objective comes from 20% of customers / clients. Effective people will choose to keep the ones which make the greatest contribution toward the ultimate objective.

If you want to discuss how we can help spot your best plates then please Contact us and we will be happy to discuss things in more depth.


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