More With Less

Like it or not, it feels like the mantra for the year ahead is going to be “do more with less.” How should we respond to the pressure to be more productive? Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.

  • Recent headlines have been dominated by companies cutting back on spending—resulting in devastating layoffs and budget cuts.
  • Among the latest is Microsoft. Following its announcement, CEO Satya Nadella said “We will have to do more with less.”
  • We marketers have heard this refrain many, many times before.
  • The pressure to achieve this ambitious feat can lead to burnout, short-term thinking, and unintended consequences.
  • Dr. Denise Lopez explains: “When we’re pressured to be super-productive, we get to a point when we aren’t at all. Too much stress can interfere with our capacity to think clearly, innovate, and design solutions.”
  • Tom Fishbourne believes that we should rethink how we work entirely.
  • Experts agree. Many are encouraging leaders to adopt new employment models centered around flexibility.
  • Research shows that flexibility leads to higher productivity. It also boosts job satisfaction, quality decision making, and creative thinking.
  • So how can we give teams more flexibility?
  • The World Economic Forum encourages leaders to offer employees “everyday flexibility.”
  • This is defined as “the ability to manage and adjust start and finish times. The freedom to manage work commitments in and around life commitments. And for work to be measured in outputs delivered, rather than hours worked.”
  • Work life expert Leslie Perlow adds that in team work, some amount of predictable time is needed to balance out the flexibility. She divides it into three categories—quiet time, collaboration time, and time off.
  • Our very own Randy Siu believes that the right processes and tools are key to making sure teams are both happy and effective.
  • “Effective means that they’re working on the right things. They’re bringing their best selves to work. And they’re collaborating well together and with other departments.”
  • Above all, when your resources are constrained, remember there’s a difference between doing more and accomplishing more.
  • Acknowledge your team’s limits and don’t be afraid to deprioritize some tasks. Focus on the things that matter the most—keeping in mind that 20% of our efforts deliver 80% of the results.
  • For the closing word on the subject, we love this old adage: “Work smarter. Not harder.”
Issue #161
Feb 5, 2023

Further Reading