Traveling the country every week and speaking with a variety of organizations and individuals, I have seen a pattern of similar struggles.
Do these challenges sound familiar to you?
What do these challenges share in common? Each scenario expects people to perform at advanced levels with fewer assets – attempting to achieve more with less.
Doing More with Less
I’ve observed this theme, doing more with less, for at least five years now. And the results of such initiatives are rarely pretty or fun. Often it means expecting employees to simply work longer hours, manage additional accounts and functions, and find or invent a way to get the job done. Cost savings become king, budgets are slashed, and every expense is scrutinized, analyzed, and optimized.
Working in this sort of an environment can drain energy, morale, and creativity. (Ironically, these are the very qualities which must be strengthened to overcome obstacles.) Some people will dutifully take their punishment, grateful to be one of the “lucky ones” who still have a job. But many bright and talented employees become discouraged and seek employment and fulfillment elsewhere. The problems compound and continue to take a relentless toll.
I believe that this philosophy and management style is intrinsically flawed.
You cannot create more with less. (Go make a sandwich with one piece of bread and this pickle… and it better be the best damn sandwich I ever had!) That type of mandate ensures frustration and promotes failure.
You cannot be excellent while focusing on what you don’t have.
What we need to be asking ourselves and our partners is to deliver more with more. Even when your external resources are reduced or restricted, you can draw on internal resources that are powerful and abundant.
Doing More with More
More (of something) is a necessary component to produce more meaningful results, and it is up to leaders like you to articulate and model just what that something is. What additional input is required? You cannot create and operate a thriving organization that is competitive in tough times and based on scarcity (less). What talented person would get up each morning excited and eager to get to the office and work for a company that believes success is all about doing more with less? Very few.
By contrast, it can be exciting and appealing to pursue excellence with an abundance of enhanced resources. And, here’s the best part, the resources I am talking about are not the hard line budget items that become the singular focus of “less men.”
Let’s do More with More:
Ingenuity – create a culture that demands thinking, invention, and creativity. Don’t settle for the first answer that comes to mind. Mandate more ideas. Better ideas. Richer ideas.
Empowerment – Smart people want the freedom to develop their own ideas, manage projects, and act without oppressive restrictions.
Customer Knowledge – When your customer tells what they need is a lower price, don’t believe them. Don’t settle for “less.” This mentality will get you and your relationship nowhere. Find out what they really need. Share your belief that better options are accessible. Find out what their real fear is. They are not afraid of price. Not really. They are afraid of failure. What does their worst case scenario look like? And if resources were unlimited, what would be their grandest desire? What can you think of that they can’t?
Value – Value doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but it could be worth one.
Passion – Do you believe in what you are doing? If not, then let me ask you a question. Why are you doing it? If the answer to the first question is “yes,” then amplify that belief until it becomes a driving, compelling passion. Proclaim the purpose behind your actions, first to yourself and then to others. Passion is a raw energy that is undeniable and extraordinarily attractive. Get some, now.
1. Shift your focus. Instead of stressing “less,” magnify “more.” Focus on what you want and on the added intensity and input that is required to get you there.
2. Outperform yourself daily. Are you still improving every day? If not, why not? You will never reach your full potential (because it it limitless), but you can continue to improve and grow toward your infinite excellence.
3. Lean Forward. Embrace uncertain moments. Initiate changes. Take bold action in a decided direction. Hanging out and waiting for permission or instruction will only restrict your choices and your life enjoyment.
After you get good at doing more with more, it is time to move on to the advanced stage:Doing Less with More. Think about it. I’m sure you can figure it out.
I’ll always be one of your biggest encouragers … more or less. Until next month,