Don’t Try To Boil The Ocean

Linda LaitalaBusiness, EmployeesLeave a Comment

Linda here.

Working with business owners is over-the-top fun!  They’re smart, savvy, interesting and willing to share their hard-won wisdom.

That was the case with Wally.
He purchased a small manufacturing plant, growing it into a $15 million company in 5 years.  Wally is intelligent and outgoing; he has learned valuable lessons along the way and is not shy in sharing his experience.   

In an Executive Roundtable meeting one day, he listened to John share plans for transforming his company by bringing on a new and very different product line.  Wally couldn’t be still.  He peppered him with why and how questions finally cautioning John, “You’ve got a great niche business.  Why do you want to risk it by bringing on something so different?  Don’t try to boil the ocean; stay close to the products that built your reputation and build from there.

It was good advice.

Boiling the ocean refers to an act of over-scoping or trying to solve a problem so big your chances of success are slim.

Boiling the ocean presents many challenges.

  • It limits your impact because your resources are spread too thin.
  • It wears down your team, inefficiency requires more time and effort to achieve the same result.
  • It can transfer your focus from what made you successful to something with unknown results.

Instead, practice the 80/20 rule.  Focus your effort on the “critical few” areas where you can maximize your impact while protecting your team from wasted effort and declining morale.  If you do that, you won’t have to worry about the temperature of the water in the ocean.

Leave a Reply