Smart Lazy Tactics for Efficiency

By Ann
August 15, 2010
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"Efficiency is intelligent laziness"
David Dunham

The old adage “pole vaulting over mouse poop” describes an excessive effort or significant resources to do something simple. Do you find you and your team working harder and longer for minimal results? Do you have fewer resources to do the same work? Do you wonder what the problem is?

An architect friend and I were talking. He said, “Hire a smart lazy person. He will find the fastest, easiest way to do something.”

Hard work for the sake of working hard has no redeemable characteristics. Entrepreneurs and business owners work hard. Pursuing a dream and building a business is hard work but not for the sake of working hard.

My five-year-old granddaughter, Grayson, unwittingly expressed her point of view on efficiency. We were on the floor building a garage with blocks for her collection of cars-- Lightning McQueen, Mater and others. I asked if she would like to be in the construction business like her dad when she grew up. She said, “Yes, I’d like to do that.” I asked if she would build me a house. She responded that she would build me a house then quickly added, “But only if you need a house, Grammie. Otherwise, I’d be wasting my materials.”

Common side effects of inefficiencies in your business:

• Outcomes do not support your vision and mission

• Busy looks important but produces nothing worthwhile

• Familiar ruts of thinking, believing and doing keep you stuck

• More effort and work yield diminishing results

• Your resources are wasted

Why keep pole vaulting? You can implement some simple solutions now.

Solutions to improve your efficiency and increase your productivity:

1. Clearly communicate your expectations for desired outcomes.

2. Choose your priorities carefully. Focus on what you do best and find ways to improve it.

3. Know what your key performance indicators (KPI) are for your business.

4. Track your KPI consistently and frequently. Do you drive without looking at your dashboard?

5. Devise a compensation plan that measures and rewards the indicators that give you the results you want.

6. Redesign processes and systems. Eliminate redundant activities and automate where possible.

7. Eliminate low profit products or services, sacred cows, and “we’ve always done it this way” thinking. Keep all options on the table. Stay open to new possibilities.

8. Be willing to fire employees who cannot or will not step up to a higher level of performance. If possible, find another place within your business that is a good fit for their skill and motivation level.

9. Get adequate sleep and rest. Would you put your life at risk by flying with a bone weary pilot? Why would you put your business at risk with worn out, depleted, overworked employees?

An example of smart lazy tactics: The founding partner of a small professional firm told me that he had reorganized individual job responsibilities in his business. He also increased the marketing efforts. While costs have gone down, the numbers of clients and sales volume have increased. These results are particularly noteworthy in a down economy.

Use smart lazy tactics to leverage your profits and productivity. Leave pole vaulting to the Olympics.

© 2010 Ann Elliott All Rights Reserved

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