Less with Less!
I’ve heard clients repeatedly talking about the need to do “more with less,” especially in the last six years. Not surprising in the face of such lean or unstable economic conditions. There are situations, I suppose, when asking employees to do “more with less” is appropriate.
However, as I work with clients in our monthly support program, I invite managers to reflect upon whether asking for “more with less” could be an abdication of an important part of their job: focusing people on goals, priorities and value–and freeing them from work that can, and often should, stop. This is ”LESS with LESS!” To explain…
1. “LESS WITH LESS” BY FOCUSING PEOPLE ORGANIZATIONALLY ON WHAT’S REALLY OF VALUE. Value Focus can be “less with less:”
- Less focus on lower priorities, resulting in more time for high value work;
- Less rework, resulting in more productivity;
- Less checkpoints, resulting in fewer bottlenecks;
- Less low return quality assurance efforts, resulting in opportunity to do higher ROI efforts;
- Less waste, resulting in more resources for the vital activities;
- Less meetings, resulting in more time to add value;
- Less paperwork, resulting in more work accomplished.
2. “LESS WITH LESS” WITHIN TASKS & PROCESSES. Process improvement is another “less with less” opportunity. For example, we can do less with less when we resolve:
- unclear ownership (and accountability) for any step of a process;
- disconnects (where handoffs from one group to another are poorly handled);
- bottlenecks (where volume overwhelms capacity due to, for example, manual functions, filing, huge volume inputs, absenteeism);
- redundancies to eliminate (activities being repeated);
- rework loops to be addressed (causing a large amount of work to pass “back” up the process to be fixed, corrected or repaired);
- decision points or inspection requirements creating delays (choices, evaluation points, checks, appraisals, audits, etc.);
- pressure to make exceptions to a process or its procedures.
3. LESS WITH LESS FOR CUSTOMERS. Managing customer expectations is a path to “less with less.” What output to the customer is of intrinsic value and what has been merely “nice to have.” Perhaps the latter could be dropped.
“Less with less” is a mindset, which when applied at the right time, will not only produce more value, but better morale among employees than the way-too-often-used-and-worn-out “more with less.” This is one important dynamic we often explore in our Management Workshops.
What do you think? Can you identify opportunities to do “less with less” and come out ahead?