Culture & Competency

Tony on "The Art of Letting Go"

Tony Schwartz, co-author of one of my favorite books, writes about the art of letting go—of business opportunities and clients that aren’t right for you:

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not suggesting the way to build a business is to regularly turn down opportunities. But not every one makes sense. I believe deeply in the value of the work we do, but I also know it only sings in a supportive and nurturing environment.

Letting go of half-hearted clients frees up time and energy to invest in clients who passionately share our commitment to reenergizing the workplace in a world of infinite demand.

The larger point for me is that foregoing opportunities may be less a sign of failure than of careful prioritizing and intelligent sacrifice.

Likewise, learning to let go when it’s clear you’re not getting what you’re after — to accept a “no” without trying to turn it into a “yes” — not only saves energy, but also dignity, which is no small contributor to our well-being.

That last line is gold.

I think it’s Alan Weiss (in one of his books on consulting) who puts it even stronger: every year, fire the bottom 15% of your clients. He argues that it’s the only way to keep improving.

Categories: Culture & Competency