Have you ever felt like you needed to take away something in order to make room for more of something else? This is actually known as the “Addition by Subtraction Concept.”
I became well aware of this concept a few years ago while I was involved in a networking group.
For various reasons, our membership had gone up and down in numbers but as a whole; we were struggling to reach our individual and collective goals.
After some time spent trying to motivate, educate, and stimulate our members, things still weren’t moving forward so we had to take a step back and evaluate what was working and what wasn’t.
As we talked to members and asked for feedback it was apparent that the main hurdle and underlying issue was that the overall fit was just not right. The group’s foundation and structure was not the right fit for some of the members and the members were not the right fit for the group. This realization was a mutual understanding and it was a relief to finally figure it out.
Now something could be done about it.
As a whole group, we discussed this and asked everyone to evaluate if they wanted to continue with the group and move in a direction we wanted to head or choose to go in a different direction. There were hugs and “good luck” handshakes and we immediately decreased by 60% as over half of our group graciously walked away.
Nothing was personal, there was no judgment, no one was better or worse than anyone else, it was simply a matter of fit, timing, and course correcting for everyone.
As entrepreneurs, this is a decision we will face many times in our businesses and we will have to be able to step back, take a look and re-evaluate in order to move forward.
Have you heard the idea that sometimes it’s necessary to take two steps back in order to take four steps forward? Well, it’s that same kind of thinking.
Having an “addition by subtraction” attitude should be a positive thing. No one wants to be judged, criticized, or made to feel guilty. And when you have a positive attitude about it and you allow others to be heard and have a say in the decision you can still run into them in the future and be happy to see one another.
Those of us who remained in the group rolled up our sleeves and got to work rebuilding our membership in a way that would best serve current and new members. We began to experience consistent growth and to date we’ve grown our membership by 500%!
The biggest lessons in this “Addition by Subtraction” experience for me are also something I hope you can use:
1. You must state, track, evaluate, and manage your goals.
2. Step back, look back and look ahead in order to course-correct as often as needed.
3. Keep the big picture in mind.
4. You must get out of your comfort zone.
5. Always act with grace, respect, integrity and openness.
6. Find the win-win in every situation.
7. Don’t take it personally.
You will want to embrace this concept because at some point it will come in handy! I guarantee there will be times where you will have so much on your plate that you will need to subtract some things in order to make room for others that are a better fit.
Business changes, your objectives, goals, actions, and thoughts will need to be altered, sometimes only slightly but sometimes huge changes will need to take place.
These concepts along with your other entrepreneur and life skills will serve you well and you’ll understand that sometimes letting go is just the way it goes.