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Keep, Drop, Create

PDCWhen I’m working with companies to re-design their programs or teams, one of the tools I like to use is super simple.  I work with a small group to brainstorm all of the things about the current situation that are important to KEEP, what should be DROPPPED, and based on those two lists, what needs to be CREATED.  This exercise is a really easy way to get clarity about what the re-designed solution might look like.

I was recently talking to a friend about her life, and she told me about a new framework she’s been using when she feels out-of-balance or in need of a change.  She makes three lists (in this order): What’s working? What’s not? What’s missing?  This exercise resonated with me because 1) it’s super easy and 2) it’s very similar to the one I’ve successfully used with organizations, so I know it works, and 3) it’s intuitive.  Looking back, without using these exact terms, this is how I decided to undertake this wellfesto project.  I knew there was something missing in my life (a daily practice, better alignment with my personal mission, writing, sharing ideas in a more formal way), and I created wellfesto to try to fill those holes.

Based on my experience, I think a combined version of these two exercises might be the ideal framework for change:

  • What’s working (about my life, exercise, diet, relationships, work, etc)?
  • What’s not?
  • What’s missing?
  • What can I create?

Drafting these lists a few times each year – or during times of transition – is a might be a really helpful way to clarify priorities.  Within the context of your wellfesto, it could help bring focus to how to prioritize your behaviors and choices – something that obviously changes over time.

What do you think about this model for personal assessment and growth?  Have you used something similar in the past?  Of if you use another framework that works for you, please share it!

One Comment Post a comment
  1. ebriceno #

    Cool, I like it. Very simple and powerful. I’ll definitely do this every once in a while. In terms of something similar, I’ve done something else that could be done either in conjunction with this: first, I clarify what I care most in my life (i.e. the 9 big red dots in a circle at Then periodically (say every 6 or 12 months) reflect on those 9 things and what is in need of focus for improvement, then pick one thing, usually underneath one of those big objectives (i.e. a narrower scope) to work on for the next X months. I call that change effort an “initiative”. Then I create a very simple ‘charter’ to make sure I think through the key elements of success in that initiative (e.g. objectives, challenges addressed, life goals pursued, scope, approaches & pathways, help & resources needed, key milestones, key risks/challenges). I share all that with my wife, Allison, so that she’s on board and I have her support to go after this change initiative, and then I go after it. I think that one could look at that list of things one cares about in life and ask the questions you outline as related to those things that have already been identified as most important. (or one could ask the question generally as you propose, which makes the process simpler and is an easier entry point for lots of people – I like it!).

    January 4, 2013

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