The Fallacy Of Doing More With Less

by Mark

If there has been one phrase that has been used by almost all Fortune 500 companies over and over again throughout the executive and middle management levels… it is “We Just Have To Learn To Do More With Less”

I am here to tell you that we need to “stop the madness”

When has anyone ever truly been able to “Do More…With Less”?

My mother was the first in her family to be born here in the U.S. from France. She comes from a long line of Boulangerie and Patisserie professionals (Bakers and Pastry Chef to my non-culinary readers)

Many of my earliest childhood memories are from all of the wonderful breads and pastries she made for family and friends all throughout the year. Especially during the Holidays!!

She rarely used recipes. When I often asked why, she always said the same thing…”I don’t need to..it’s basically science and chemistry what has to go in and in what proportions.

I thought about her baking recently as I heard more predictions of businesses needing to do “more with less” in 2010.  In fact a Google search resulted in over six million results. More with less.

If you add more flour to bread dough, it won’t rise. Why? Because the yeast can’t lift the added weight.  If you cut the yeast in half and use the same amount of flour, the dough won’t work either. In either case, less is still less – something suffers. Basic reality that’s proven by science.
So how can you get more with less?  Entrepreneurs are still wearing too many hats; are they supposed to put on another one?  Instead of adding staff, are retailers supposed to give existing staff even more responsibilities?  Is a store department manager supposed to manage an additional department’s employees? This applies to my hospitality and restaurant friends as well.

In all of these cases, something has to give because the reality is, less is still less.

This reminds me of another old saying I heard a lot at a mastermind meeting recently, “perception is reality.” No, only reality is reality. If I perceive I’m Tom Cruise – sorry – it doesn’t make me Tom Cruise. I think that makes me delusional.  Only reality is reality.

Doing less with more, cutting past the fluff and the fat into the marrow, has led to:

  • Deterioration of basic merchandising and display techniques
  • Deterioration of hiring standards
  • Less people on the sales floor
  • Less training by the few who run the sales floor
  • An emphasis on looking backwards at data rather than selling in the moment

So what should you do? Make a list every morning of what you want to accomplish.  Next prioritize it.  Work through your list.  What is left each day may be insignificant or major.  After awhile, you’ll probably see that many major things were left undone.

I think we’ve seen plenty of “profitable” companies crowing how they are doing more with less.  Really or are they just doing less?

For many businesses, the bread’s in the pan – waiting to rise to the occasion or sit. What’s your choice going to be?

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