FranklinCovey Blog | Quality Work

Doing More with Less

Friday, November 6th, 2009 | Predictable Results in Unpredictable Times | 4 Comments

 Does this sound familiar…

“I work at a Fortune 500 company. Each year we have layoffs so more work is given to each of us; no pay increase. This additional work adds 5-10 hours per week. Last year I averaged 60-70 per week and am working more this year.”

“I have worked in Manufacturing for nearly 30 years. Our plant had 4000 employees when I started. Today we have 187 people left, 72 of them are on the executive team. We are expected to come to work an hour early, work through lunch and stay two hours late everyday.”

“I work as a Web Producer for a publishing company. Over the past 6mo. they’ve laid off 50% of our staff. . . . So, now we’re stuck with a limited staff, each one doing 2-3 times as much work, most of which we’re not qualified or experienced in.”

These actual postings from www.cnn.money  illustrate one of the key hazards of these unpredictable times: Trying to do more with less. Of course, the concept is a virtuous one—everyone wants to get more return from fewer resources. That’s what productivity is all about.

But real people are paying a real price for unintelligent application of this principle.

The problem is too many companies lay people off and then expect the survivors to pick up the slack, doing two or three jobs at once. The obvious downside is spikes in stress, burnout, quality problems, and disengagement. You can’t expect overwhelmed people to do quality work or to get engaged in what they’re doing.

Everyone wants to do more with less. But the real question is “more of what”? More of the same? Or more of the kind of work that your customers really value?

In our recent book  we focus hard on this question. The turmoil we live in is displacing workers in unprecedented ways, and companies are paying a heavy price for mindlessly shedding numbers without re-thinking the business model. Service levels drop, quality plummets, and revenues slide.

On an airliner, serving peanuts to everyone might be in the flight attendant’s job description. But in turbulent air, you really don’t care if the flight attendant does that job. It’s not as important as caring for the safety and well-being of the passengers. Maybe you can do without serving peanuts for a while.

Isn’t it time to stop asking people to do the impossible by trying to work two or three jobs at once? Isn’t it time to push the re-set button and ask what work really adds value and forget the rest?

We’d like to hear from you. Are you trying to do “more with less”? Are you like the people we’ve quoted above? Or are you doing more of what really matters and less of what doesn’t?

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Five tips to reduce your stress: TIP #1

Thursday, April 30th, 2009 | FranklinCovey News | 1 Comment

Why is it that when layoffs occur, and the workforce retracts, the work seems to expand? The remaining employees are, quite often, left with additional responsibilities and fewer resources. Sound familiar? I’m going to share with you my five keys to remaining sane when your job requirements try to drive you mad.

 Tip #1: Eliminate Chaos

When everything around you is moving fast it’s hard to get organized. Does this sound like your typical day? You return from one meeting only to go to another and yet another throughout the day; you don’t have time to focus strategically on one project because your time is spread so thin over a dozen; you have three people at your door waiting for a decisions on three different projects. › Continue reading

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