I often hear managers of teams or companies that are talking about profit recovery, turnaround, changing culture etc. talk about the ways that they are going to change. During these discussions in management meetings I almost invariably hear a manager say “we are going to do more with less.”
This comment by its very nature is problematic.
First, if our employees work hard, are skilled, and have proper instruction there is no way they can do more with less.
Unless we are going to train them better, give them new systems or tools that make them more productive, or make them work harder during the allocated time, there is no possible way they can do more with less.
Effectively, these managers are saying they have allowed poor performance, bad systems, or ineffective employees up until this point—and now they are going to change that.
Rarely does this intention to change come to fruition.
More of Your Best
Today I would like to suggest a replacement to “do more with less.” Instead, let’s say: “We are going to do more of your best.”
Let me explain.
Many employees spend a significant amount of their time on tasks that don’t take advantage of the greatest skill they bring to an organization.
I’m talking about your best salesman doing collection calls, your account managers running errands, and your engineers driving back to your warehouse to pick up parts. This could even be your executives planning their own travel.
Instead, imagine if you had everyone dedicated to doing the tasks that brought the most value back to the organization.
Imagine if “more of our best” became everyone doing everything possible to stay focused on the very task that allows them to make the maximum positive impact to the organization.
Don’t Apologize for Getting Support
I recently hired an amazing saleswoman. She is truly gifted and she joined the organization and immediately started to have an impact on sales.
I also have one of the best sales support resources I have ever worked with in a position to help sales people with bids, paperwork, and the like.
After getting help from the support person to finish a great opportunity for our business, this saleswoman offered an apology and thanks for having the support person help her.
The pertinent fact her is she felt the NEED to apologize for using a support person for the very job she holds.
I quickly corrected the apology to a job well done and thank you to the support resource. The fact is, the salesperson should use the support staff.
In fact, because this sales person wasn’t bogged down in paperwork, she was able to establish several other deals. She shouldn’t hesitant to make use of the resources available so she can focus on the next deal down the line.
The Myth of Multitasking
I can’t tell you how often this situation arises. We in business have made the ability to multitask a badge of honor rather than celebrating focused effort and work.
I am convinced that when managers understand their teams, they will help their teams focus on their strengths. Instead of directing them to “do more with less,” they will reduce and direct their tasks.
These managers will work to get everyone doing what they are best at accomplishing. When everyone understands their role and when everyone has support in those roles, success is usually imminent.