Doing This Could Make You Less Productive

December 23, 2015, 12:00 PM UTC

MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for:What’s your New Year’s resolution? is written by Bettina Experton, CEO of Humetrix.

Growing a successful company is hard. You will encounter many business opportunities that appear amazing not only for growth, but for delivering your vision as well. Yet it’s important to be strategic about what options you choose to pursue, because chasing too many could actually be counterproductive. So my goal in 2016 is to be more selective about the projects my company takes on and emphasize a more narrow focus on our vision. Here’s how:

Analyze the benefits
When a potential partner or customer is genuinely excited about our capabilities, it seems like an easy win. If they have the means, scale, and desire to make it work, it is easy to forge ahead, enthusiastic about the possibilities. But sometimes, all the desire in the world is not enough to make a deal work, and if our visions are not perfectly aligned, the process can become complex and time consuming. In these cases, should we compromise sound business principles in order to force a partnership? Or should we recognize when the timing isn’t right?

Moving forward, I will better balance enthusiasm with a healthy look at potential impact. No matter how sizable the potential deal may be, or how like-minded or excited our partner is, we’ve got to be disciplined enough to walk away if necessary.

See also: What Every Business Can Learn From AirBnb

Get comfortable with “no”
Many entrepreneurs have the ability to make things happen through sheer force of will. But maturing as a business means learning when powering through just to prove you’re “getting it done” doesn’t make sense. In 2016, ‘no’ will become a viable and acceptable answer if our benefits analysis does not bear out. Passing on the opportunity today does not mean that the time won’t be right tomorrow. It just means that we are still waiting for all of the pieces to be in place, or for a better fit to appear on the horizon so we can make the most impact. In 2016, I want to empower our team to walk away from the opportunities that won’t advance our goals, but keep the door wide open for the right ones. This will allow us to truly devote ourselves to finding and supporting the opportunities that will make a real difference.

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