Are You Still Trying to do More With Less?

You can’t go too long in today’s business world without someone mindlessly spewing the infamous: “We’ve got to do more with less.” There is little doubt that over the years this has been—and sometimes continues to be—the mantra of some of the best and the brightest business minds. But what if what once was true fades and crumbles into myth? What if the world isn’t what it used to be? What if it’s possible to have too much of a good thing?

Dallas Mavericks owner, serial entrepreneur and (TV show) Shark Tank shark Mark Cuban once said, “If you’re looking where everybody else is looking, you’re looking in the wrong spot.” Furthermore, Malcolm Gladwell in his most recent best-seller “David And Goliath” leans heavily on the concept of The Inverted U. The Inverted U for the sake of this discussion could also be called the Law of Diminishing Returns. (Note: I’m certain there are probably finer points between the two but at this moment’s 50,000 feet let’s just envision them as synonymous, at least for now.)

The point being, less can reach a tipping point where there is so much less that what’s left is not enough to be effective (i.e., competitive and profitable). Makes sense, yes?

I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions and such so please don’t misread the timing of this post. Instead, I want to share with you this epiphany:

“Doing more with less” is out. It is at this point a fool’s game. It’s time to break from the pack. Today I propose that the new black is…”Doing more with better.” That is to shift attention to increasing quality as well as efficiency; to invest in processes and personnel that will continue to add value time and again over the long run; to stop pinching pennies and figure out ways to make dollars; and to seek opportunities with growth-minded organizations and individuals.

Yes, being lean and financially savvy is important. It always has been and it probably always will be. However, if the dollar you save on product / service / employee today leads to lost opportunities tomorrow then you didn’t save anything. You instead (as the cliche goes) shot yourself in the foot. Look around. How many brands and companies to you see hopping around on one foot? Too many, yes?

This is why I recommend you plant both feet back on the ground, define your goals and then commit to a mindset of “Doing more with better.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel H. Pink and The Pixar Pitch

After randomly catching a couple intriguing interviews via podcast / radio (see below),  I picked up Daniel H. Pink’s (http://DanPink.com) latest book “To Sell Is Human (The Surprising Truth About Moving Others).” Perhaps you recognize Mr. Pink from one of his previous top-selling efforts, “Drive” or “A Whole New Mind”? To cut a short blog post even shorter, if you’re a fan of Mr. Malcolm Gladwell (http://Gladwell.com), you’ll enjoy Mr. Pink’s communication style.

NPR: Death Of The (Predatory) Salesman: These Days, It’s A Buyer’s Market

Spark (CBC Radio): 202: Selling, Thriving, Developing

Beyond that, I’m not making this effort to deliver an encompassing book review of Pink’s everyone-is-in-sales research-a-thon. There’s no need for that. I’m also not a critic. My intention is simple. I want to share my discovery of Chapter 7’s highlight, The Pixar Pitch.

The chapter begins by proposing that there are six successors to the classic 30 second elevator pitch. Evidently Pink saved the best for last because that’s when The Pixar Pitch is mentioned. Yes, in case you’re wondering, this Pixar is the Steve Jobs’ numberswiki.com

Pixar. Also, if you’re wondering about the other five hits of the post-elevator pitch era you’ll have to buy the book.

In any case, Pink’s proposition is that there are a half dozen optimal ways for making a (sales) pitch. The Pixar Pitch is the formula Pixar uses to craft the movies of its Oscar winning success.

The Pixar Pitch:

Once upon a time {fill in the blank}.

Every day {fill in the blank}.

One day {fill in the blank}.

Because of that {fill in the blank}.

Until finally {fill in the blank}.

Why do I think this simple exercise is brilliant?

As I see it, its potential goes well beyond Pink’s focus, the sales pitch. The Pixar Pitch is the basis for a press release. It’s the framework for brainstorming product development. It could guide the definition of the scope of a brand, website, WordPress plugin, etc. Admittedly, these too must be sold. I would just prefer to inject the Pixar approach further up stream. In other words, sooner rather than later.

The bottom line: The beauty of The Pixar Pitch is that its simple, focus and unavoidably highly effective. Done!

You say “Blink.” I say, “Sway.” “Blink.” “Sway.” “Blink.” “Sway.”

Grab your morning coffee and lead yourself to Marci Alboher’s “The Tyranny Of First Impressions” in the Sunday Times.

Without actually reading “Sway” it’s premature to draw any conclusions but it certainly  seems that this book is a twist on Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink”. Or maybe at least the other side of the coin such that gut first impressions can also lead to mistakes. No surprise there, eh?

That said, there is also a substantial number of studies that clarify the importance of team work, group dynamics, etc. as part of the success equation. In fact, Jim Collins’ “Good to Great” said, “Get the right people on the bus” not “Get the most qualified on the bus.” If fact, if “most qualified” was the only criteria then all entrepreneurs would be MBAs and even Bill Gates would be out of a job since he is a college drop out. Lucky for us Bill stuck it out and hired himself.

Yes, these two brother have a point and everyone agrees that more objectivity – tests and the like – in the hiring process would be a good thing. On the other hand the reality is that the best answer is probably somewhere between total objectivity with regards to experience/talent and the subjective can this person fit into our organization? Many a great ball player has suffered after a trade. Just as many great ball players have come to life after being traded to the “right” team. There is far more to success than pure talent – which can be very subjective anyway – since it is widely said, “Past performance is no indication of future returns.”

As difficult as it is being human, we should all probably increase our efforts to be more  objective, as well as to be more attentive to what is and can be, not so much what was. Unfortunately, we also tend to trust most people and thus “Actions speak louder than words” is too often forgotten until it’s too late.