Discover more from Digital Evolutionary
Addition Through Subtraction
Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is "no" or "no longer"
Change is often perceived through the lens of addition. Subtraction is an underutilized method of change. Individuals, when aiming to introduce change, often instinctively add rather than remove elements, even when the latter might be more effective.
Natural Tendency Towards Addition
Humans have an ingrained bias towards adding rather than subtracting. Whether enhancing an app, refining a work culture, or optimizing an organizational process, the instinctual approach is to incorporate new elements. This dominance of additive change might seem intuitive, but it can overshadow potential benefits that might arise from subtracting unnecessary components.
Invisible Power of Subtraction
The absence created by subtractive change often goes unnoticed. When a component is removed, whether it's a redundant rule, a distracting app feature, or a time-consuming process, the positive impacts are less observable. This invisibility means that the benefits of subtractive actions might not be recognized, credited, or even remembered. Organizations miss out on learning from these improvements, and a crucial tool for optimization remains underutilized.
Digital Evolutionary is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Prompting Subtractive Thinking
Simple reminders can significantly shift the balance, prompting individuals to consider subtraction alongside addition. Institutionalizing subtraction, like the role of a subtractor in chief or setting visible reminders of successful subtractions, can encourage a more balanced approach to change. By making subtraction an inherent part of the decision-making process, organizations can explore a wider range of solutions and potentially discover more efficient pathways to improvement.