Do more with less. Really? – Forbes recently published an article entitled “Forty-Four Timeless Business Sayings You Should Know” (Forbes Feb 11th 2013) a collection of thoughtful quotations incorporating a few of the most annoying corporate buzzwords, clichés and euphemisms. The article makes for a good read encouraging us to ditch the jargon and use the timeless quotations instead.
One of the most widely used pieces of jargon it mentions is the annoying mandate: “Do more with less”. Forbes suggests that this is an ‘offensively redundant marching order in a bad economy’. There is no disagreement to be found from us! Forbes go on to suggest that on the subject of profitability there are two much more useful quotes:
Size is a handicap unless efficiency goes with it. – Herbert N Casson
I don’t want to do business with those who don’t make a profit because they can’t give the best service. – Lee Bristol
It is not that the mandate “do more with less” is unreasonable but more that it is usually used in the context of a challenge rather than as helpful advice and part of a package of activities that help create efficiencies in an organisation resulting in a more profitable business.
Doing more with less should not result in staff working twice as hard for the same gain. Quite the converse is true. In place, efficiencies should result in staff working smarter, taking advantage of tools and technologies that are more readily available in today’s workplace.
It should also result in companies focusing on fewer things and doing the job properly. More accurately, the mandate should be “do more of the things that matter with less effort”. The key here is to recognise that business performance needs to be managed effectively.
Business performance management is not simply looking at sales and financial results. Still, it requires us to look at the business as a whole, concentrating on financial and non-financial measures and then taking that step further to look at those few strategic initiatives that will make a real difference.
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