‘Winners quit fast, quit often and quit without guilt – until they commit to beating the right Dip for the right reasons.’ Seth Godin
Over the past few days, I’ve been exploring how Seth Godin’s notions of the Dip and the cul-de-sac relate to working on a legacy project. I have found Seth’s emphasis on using quitting as a long-term rather than a short-term strategy particularly useful, as it provides fresh insights into the question ‘I wonder whether I should quit?’ which pops up so often when things start getting tough with a legacy project.
Here are 5 specific lessons I have learnt from Seth Godin’s book The Dip:
1. Anticipate the Dip. If you can’t make it through the Dip, don’t start. This in fact seems to me to be the most important insight in the book. Not starting lots of things means you can focus all your resources on starting, growing and completing the one thing that really matters.
2. Make a realistic plan. You can know before you start a legacy project whether or not you have the resources and the will to get to the end. Most of the time, if you are forced to abandon the project mid-stream, it’s either because you planned wrong or because you gave up before you completed the project.
3. Commit to your market. Your commitment to ‘the market’ (i.e. the area your legacy project is in) needs to be unquestioned – it’s much cheaper and easier to build your foundation in one market than to flit from one to another until you find a quick success.
4. Quit the tactic, stick to the market. Don’t fall in love with a tactic and defend it forever. Instead, decide once and for all whether you’re in a market or not. And if you are, get through that Dip.
5. Decide on your quitting strategy at the beginning. If quitting is going to be a strategic decision that enables you to make smart choices in the marketplace, then you should outline your quitting strategy before the discomfort sets in. Write down under what circumstances you’re willing to quit. And when. And then stick with it. Every individual and every organisation that wants to use quitting as a competitive tool ought to have a plan about when it’s time to quit.
The time is now.
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