"If you're understaffed, you have to do more with less. It's like going on a diet. You want to function at the same level, but there's just less of you to go around and you don't want to put the weight back on. A good diet eliminates the useless calories. We all consume foods that don't do much for us, so we waste calories. And doing more with less means we have to eliminate the wasted hours in the day.
Here are some ways to eliminate waste:
- First thing is this: be more decisive, and people are going to stop waiting on decisions.
- Empower people, because it eliminates bureaucracy.
- Reward progress, and people won't procrastinate as much.
- Clarify your priorities, so people eliminate busy work. If it's not one of your priorities, they know what's busy work.
- Allow for some flexibility, some telecommuting, and it's going to reduce travel time.
- Have fewer or shorter meetings, and you avoid the ceremonial participation, having somebody in a meeting just for the sake of being there.
- Cross-train people, and you'll eliminate downtime when somebody's out.
- Focus on change management; you'll reduce foot-dragging and change resistance.
- Build a candidate pipeline, and you'll reduce the time positions stay opened.
- And attack problems with a vengeance, and you'll reduce errors and rework.
Companies waste a ton of time because they can. All these ideas won't work for you, but I bet some of them will.
These are ideas you can implement over time. If you want to lose 10 pounds, you start by losing that first pound. And eliminating wasteful work is the very same way."