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How to Achieve Better ROI by Doing Nothing

Do only that which is worth the time and effort. That’s what Brian White, an IT professional and talent coach, recommends in a recent article posted on B2C. White’s approach might be called the “wu wei” (the “do nothing”) of business. More specifically, wu wei means do nothing except that which must be done (comes naturally).  To ensure good ROI, White offers a list of what should come naturally to any IT outfit.


For White, making lists is a top priority for avoiding unnecessary action:

As you begin to create a list…make sure that [the]entire list is prioritized and as new things [are]added, [and that]they are prioritized as well.  If you don’t then you’ll be surprised what sort of things…drive “what gets done”; like how easy [a task]is to [complete], or how easy it is to discern…requirements…Create an ordered list to keep your IT staff from become wandering nomads through your list of requests.

ROI-Enhancing Tasks that are “Wu Wei”

  • Ensuring the non-IT staff make reasonable use of your department’s time and efforts with their requests
  • Maintaining that IT staff are the only ones making important changes on things that are worth changing
  • Having a business-side gatekeeper who will handle all requests put forth to IT
  • Assessing Costs by not asking “Can [IT] operation do task X”, but instead “How difficult will task X be [for said IT operation]?”, then translating the answer into a dollar amount
  • Articulating your requests to the IT department effectively so as to disallow information gaps that lead to assumptions and speculations

Relieving IT of Business Responsibilities

White believes that natural approaches such as Prioritization, Risk Assessment, Gatekeeping, and Communicating Requirements should be left strictly to business personnel. This ensures that IT departments can give a cost assessment on a given request – before they return to doing only that which matters.

Read the full article at:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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