How to Reduce the Amount of Incomplete Work In Your Business

How to Reduce the Amount of Incomplete Work In Your Business

simplify top 10 wastes Jun 17, 2022

Incomplete work is spending time and energy on things that never get completed or implemented and never produce value. This is where it can feel like you and your team are working really hard but not seeing the results you expect, either at all or not as quickly as you want.

Incomplete work is the 2nd part of a 10-part series on the top 10 ways that small businesses are leaving massive amounts of time and profit on the table in their business.

What causes incomplete work in your business

Something that business owners don't always realize is that their behaviors are often the cause of incomplete work in their business. Here are a few common root causes of incomplete work:

  • Lack of strategic planning which can lead to overcommitting, confusion over what should be done, and constantly shifting priorities
  • Context switching where you and your team are working on too many different things at the same time and shifting your focus back and forth between them; when you context switch, things take longer to complete, if they ever complete at all, and quality often suffers
  • What I call “Visionaryitis” where the Visionary Leader of the business, typically the Founder and CEO, creates an environment where things don’t get finished due to constantly shifting focus to pursue new ideas
  • Bottlenecks in the business when things get held up waiting on the Founder or leaders to make decisions, review or approve things, or give feedback, all of which can lead to things getting stuck and sometimes forgotten

When you combine the Visionary often being a bottleneck with them also being an idea-generating-machine who loves to start new things but not necessarily finish them, things frequently get abandoned which results in a lot of work that is never finished.


How to reduce incomplete work in your business

The easiest way to reduce incomplete work in your business is to limit the number of things you work on at once and focus on finishing what you already started before starting something new.

This is leveraging 2 of my favorite lean concepts:

  1. Stop starting. Start finishing.
  2. Limit WIP (work in progress)

If you don’t already have a right-hand Ops-person focused on implementation and ensuring that things get DONE, that should likely be your next hire.  You want someone on your team who can take all of your ideas and ensure they get implemented and also reduce context switching due to new ideas or lack of strategic planning.  They help keep everyone focused on what matters most.

When working with our clients, we partner with them to implement our proprietary lean strategic planning system which minimizes incomplete work.

It not only gives everyone the clarity on what they should be focusing on, but it also includes space for innovation, and some highly effective techniques that help teams to 10x their productivity and not only get more things done in less time but actually get things FINISHED because that's where you start to see and realize value.  


If you would like to partner with someone to eliminate unnecessary complexity and simplify and scale your coaching, consulting, or service based business, that's our specialty.  

Book a complimentary strategy call to see how we can support you in simplifying and scaling your business and let’s eliminate waste and find the hidden time and money in your business together We offer both done-with-you and done-for-you solutions based on your unique needs. 

Explore the other 10 ways that small businesses are leaving massive amounts of time and profit on the table in their business in our 10-part series here.


by Crista Grasso

Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale.  Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business.  She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast. She is also the founder and CVO of the Profitable Planner Co and Criscara Jewelry.


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