If you have any employees, or are in a position of management/leadership in your company and have people reporting to you – then you have personally experienced the rapidly changing “whitewater world” in which we live. There is a high probability that downsizing, and being under increased pressure to accomplish more with less, is the norm. We’re constantly faced with less time, fewer human and physical resources, budget constraints, inadequate training, support from management and other departments, and even less encouragement and advice.
Is there an answer? If so, what is it? This multi-part article will explore a possible solution – one that will work whether you have 1 employee, 100, or 1000 and more, whether you have a service entity like a landscape construction, or maintenance company, or are in a white collar professional engineering firm.
Consider how the words Trust and Synergy seem overused in today’s business nomenclature. They certainly are among the buzz words of our decade, however their genuine application and benefits are scarcely realized- but why? Trust leads to Synergy, where team members working together in almost perfect unison accomplish results far greater than whatever could be accomplished as a group of individuals. Synergy (which requires Trust) is defined by the late Dr. Stephen R. Covey as one plus one equaling three or more – perhaps much more.
In a nutshell – the answer, and the most rapid way to accomplishing more with less is by enhancing the synergy of your workforce! It’s actually a “lighthouse” principle – it’s Habit 6 of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Dr. Stephen R. Covey. Lighthouse principles cannot be violated with impunity. We cannot break lighthouse principles – if we persist in trying we find that we break ourselves against them. They are timeless and universal.
Consider the ramifications of delegating a task to a subordinate that you do not really trust, don’t have confidence in, one who lacks the skills and know-how to ‘get the job done’, but circumstances require you to take this step. Are you at peace with your decision? Do you rest comfortably with the knowledge and understanding that you have nothing to worry about? Is this task no longer on the top of your mind? Or are you working behind the scenes to micromanage? Are you making alternative plans so that the customer will be taken care of? Consider the wasted effort and duplicated time and energy. The end result will surely be damaged company morale and a decline in company synergy.
Now, consider the opposite – consider the ramifications of delegating a task to a subordinate that to you is trustworthy, one in whose abilities you have abundant confidence, one that has a proven track record of success. What’s going on in your mind? You have peace because of your level of trust and confidence, efforts are not duplicated, and time and energies are not wasted. The end result is enhanced company morale and synergy.
Ponder the parallel of a horse pulling contest. Clydesdales are often used because of their immense size and power. Several years ago the record pull of a single Clydesdale was 6 tons. The almost unbelievable result of two Clydesdales pulling “synergistically” was nearly 52 tons!
The great Albert Einstein once defined insanity as: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So – if you want your business to actually experience an exponential leap in effectiveness because of enhanced synergy – it’s safe to say that you cannot continue to do the same things over and over again and achieve this coveted result.
Trust is a great lubricant to accelerate progress – but the lack of trust in any organization is for certain a TAX that carries a troublesome burden. This TAX negatively impacts speed and certainly causes all costs involved to dramatically increase. Francis Fukuyama, an Economist quoted in the best seller, “The Speed of Trust” said, “Widespread distrust in a society…imposes a kind of tax on all forms of economic activity, a tax that high-trust societies do not have to pay.”
Thankfully, the opposite also exists as a benefit to your organization. Increased trust equals increased speed and decreased costs (the ability to accomplish more with less) – as illustrated in the second example above. You can achieve the benefits of a trust dividend instead of bearing the burden of a trust tax.
Over a decade ago, a study by Watson Wyatt indicated that total return to shareholders for organizations with high trust was almost 3X’s higher than those with low trust! So this is not simply a concept that “feels good” – this is an objective that has tremendous power to help make you and your company become a positive force to be reckoned with in your marketplace. Strive to improve the trust and synergy of your organization.
Albert E. Gray in his essay, The Common Denominator of Success, said “Successful people have the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do. They don’t like doing them either, necessarily, but their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose!”
Next month we’ll continue to explore how increasing trust and synergy is worth whatever effort is needed. Plus, implementable methods will be revealed that will accelerate the process so you can begin immediately to accomplish more with less.