Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Pressure Funnel and Cut Costs and Grow Stronger

I know today will be a great day. My productivity is already high which is not the norm for me for the last week.

I notice that I am more productive when I more things that I consider important that must be done. I think of this as sort of a Pressure Funnel. If there is not enough in the top then what flows out the bottom flows too slowly.

So my solution is to productivity is to push myself hard to do some of the things I know I want to do. Some easy things I can do do add pressure is travel. That almost always puts me behind. I can add to my exercise goals. Can almost never do enough there. I add to my reading pile.

I tend to create my own pressure. I have noticed in leading staff, that most of them have the same phenomenon. So as a leader, it is up to me to help make sure the Pressure Funnel is full. However, I also observe that the amount of pressure needed varies from person to person. The key is building just the right amount of pressure.
I read an eBook "Cut Costs and Grow Stronger". I do not enjoy reading eBooks as much as reading an old fashioned book. The book is short - almost a long article. Lots of wasted space (I think sometimes people figure they are adding value by adding heft. 11 of the first 65 pages are just title pages etc.
The gist of the message is as the title suggests. Cutting costs strengthens a company - not weakens it as many people say. The reason cutting cost strengthens a company is the increased focus it creates.
The book rightly suggests the key is to correct identify what your company's unique capabilities. What things do the customers value. And cut the rest. This is called the Capabilities Driven Cost Cutting model.
It also speaks of fear as being a great motivator to inspire change. I certainly have noted that.
The only thing the book could have added was "with heart". I have seen that companies that treat people with respect win the hearts of their people. And inspired people well out perform frightened people. Cutting costs can create politics that may not have previously existed. People tend to rally behind a company if they understand the need to do things. Heart may still mean making changes. It may still mean letting some people go. It just implies that there is a thoughtfulness (for me, it is almost an agonizing), a vision and trying to help people land well.


At 12:27 AM, Anonymous sbwoodside said...

I think the main problem with this strategy is that it creates stress (at least for me) from all of the low-priority items that are hanging around. How do you deal with that?

At 7:05 AM, Blogger Jim Estill said...

My point is that I like pressure and am more efficient with it than not. This is individual though I am sure so you need to figure out what works for you.

At 6:10 PM, Anonymous Alex Revai said...

Cost cutting, in general, I agree, is healthy and neccessary. "Fat" seems to accumulate over time. Especially, when things are going well.

Unfortunately, more often than not, companies rush to cut cost (when business is not doing so well) instead of fixing first what's broken. Cost cutting, when done in a reactionary, "campaign" fashion, often becomes the beginning of the end (of the company).

Cost cutting should be an ongoing effort, just like continuous improvement. I.e.: like going to the gym on a regular basis as opposed to a crash diet.


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