Do More With Less?

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Mar 26

Last week I had the privilege of speaking to the Seattle-land Help Desk Northwest, dedicated to sharing ideas for customer service excellence. My topic: 7 Strategies for Doing More With Less.

It’s timely.

The seventh strategy is this one: Confront the Ugly.

Confronting the Ugly simply means that, at some point, there is only so much you can do with the resources you have and then you must cut back on the services you offer. If you can’t provide 50 services, you should change to offering 45, or 30, or 5. Or one.

Resources will constrain what you are able to do as a person and as a company. Significantly, constraints enable creativity. Some wonderful ideas can come out of thinking through how to do what you are doing even better. But, in the end, prioritization of what is to be done with existing resources will trump the creative process.

Neither management nor a lot of cubicle warriors are willing to stop doing what is no longer important in the work. You see this consistently when people are laid off and the remaining people are expected to pick up all the work done by those that left. It doesn’t work that way — it simply causes burnout of those that remain.

We see it in the budget process — simply cut the budget but don’t change the services. Sure, some innovative things can be done within a budget to make numbers. But in a declining economy where budgets need to be cut, managers are not willing to take the hard line and get rid of services.

And to Confront the Ugly by speaking truth to power brings forth a lot of denial of the situation by those in power. “Just figure it out,” we’re told, but nothing is allowed to change.

Today, Slacker Manager offered up this same idea with a great tag line:

we need to do more ON less,” meaning more resources, more staffing, and more focus on fewer initiatives. The result of this approach is a prioritization of the most important and high impact initiatives and getting the new levels of resources focused for delivering results on those top priorities.

Exactly. Confront the Ugly.

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