April 23, 2014

What are the Opportunities of Doing More with the Right Less?

I never advise my clients to do more with less, because you start to make choices that are not the right thing to do. Doing more with the “right” less – now that’s a philosophy to live by.

Are objectives clearly defined?

What needs to get done? Establishing overarching strategies and corresponding objectives will help. In the nooks and crannies of all companies are things “we’ve always done,” things we like to do (that have no meaning) and processes that have not been reviewed and streamlined for years. At The Applied Companies, we used to “vomit” a three-inch binder every month. Three pages actually had impact. Now we focus on the information needed for decision-making, set benchmarks to dictate change and trigger attention to fluctuations that are off goal. We’re using technology to streamline, including new staffing software, which will allow us to complete 15-20 percent more work with the same people.

How are results measured / communicated?

If you ever tried to potty train a puppy, you know you get better results by praising and disciplining closer to the scratch on the door or the accident on the rug. Try giving incremental results on a periodic basis, even if it is a raw valued result sooner with the final number coming at a close later date. Close the circle of excellence by giving feedback on how people are doing.

Is everyone set to succeed?

What are your employees’ strengths? We pride ourselves in hiring a diverse workforce, people who think differently and complement one another. We all take a Strengths Finder assessment/evaluation, to determine what our people are best at doing. Tom Rath, Strength Finders 2.0 author, points out that “…people have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.” Once an employee’s strength is found, it can be matched with a need, duty or responsibility and let the power go!

What happens if goals are met or not met?

How many times did Thomas Edison try before getting the light bulb right? More than 10,000. Value flexibility and trial and error before you announce “we got it right.” Ask, “what happened or how can this be improved?” Tom Rath continues with this study result: people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.

Focus on the strengths of your employees to do more with the right less.

Written by Jim Annis, President/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Johnson, Tom Miller, and Suzanne Chennault, Applied’s division directors, contributed to this article.

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