"Make the Most of What You Have"
from The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus
by Eric Harvey
There's another sign hanging in our workshop. It reads:
SO MANY TOYS,
SO LITTLE TIME
It serves as a reminder for us (and a clue for you) about overcoming big challenges and accomplishing big goals: you have to maximize the resources available to you. Goal setting— planning your work and then working your plan— not only leads to effectiveness, but also fosters efficiency…it helps you minimize waste. And if there's one thing we hate around here, it's waste. Considering the volume of orders and deliveries we deal with annually, we'd quickly go out of business if we didn't make the absolute best use of our resources: time, money, materials, and the talents of our elves and reindeer. I can picture the headlines now: Santa Wastes Away to Nothing! (And they would not be talking about my belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly!)
Because resources are so important to us, we've gone well beyond merely relying on goal action plans to ensure efficiency. The best example of this is a workshop-wide team we created called "Waste Watchers" (again, no connection with my girth). The sole purpose of the group is to identify and eliminate inefficient/wasteful business practices. The following presents just a few of the strategies they've come up with to help us do more with less. I offer it as yet another gift to you.
Making the Most of TIME
- Prioritize tasks (do the most important things first) and use "to do" lists to organize daily activities.
- Start and end meetings promptly—and issue agendas in advance.
- Teach time-management skills and techniques.
- Take advantage of time-saving technology.
Making the Most of MONEY
- Buy in discounted bulk whenever appropriate.
- Shop for the best prices on materials, supplies, equipment, and services.
- Communicate electronically to reduce long-distance charges.
- Think pennies as well as dollars—a few cents saved here and there add up quickly.
- "Measure twice, cut once."
- Reuse and recycle whenever possible.
- Be religious about preventive maintenance.
- Invest in extended warranties.
- Involve the people with the knowledge in the decisions.
- Match jobs with worker skills and interests.
- Enhance employee expertise through training and developmental assignments.
- Encourage employees to share their knowledge with others.