Google announced this week that they are closing down several sites and services. According to reports they are eliminating some redundant services (Google Video being a good example of that) while closing others that never performed.
Peter Drucker, in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said that the single thing that highly innovative companies had in common was that they were ruthless in killing programs, products or services that no longer created value. There is almost always a finite limit to which you can expand your capacity to add new things. The most innovative organizations, according to Drucker, free up existing resources for more valuable efforts.
This is precisely what Google is doing now.
In my experience, stopping programs is a significant challenge for a lot of non-profit organizations. Services and programs tend to come with their own built-in constituencies (that’s how many of them get created in the first place!). The ones that fail to flourish become sacred zombie cows, staggering along without truly dying yet with no hope for growth.
This recession creates an environment where those sacred zombie cows can finally be driven from the organization. Before contemplating layoffs or uniform cuts across the organization, take advantage of the disruption around us to stop doing things that no longer create value. This will allow you redirect resources to more productive programs which will create a thriving organization while others continue to struggle.