I will bet you have never read a headline like this: “ABC Company announces record Q1 revenue and earnings: outlines plan to cut 2,000 jobs.”
What is absolutely typical is the type of news released recently by PepsiCo, where Q1 net income slipped to the lowest level in years and they announced a cut of 8,700 jobs.
Let’s face it, under positive conditions, most managers honestly believe they need additional resources to keep the success going. They get very creative about why more people are required to execute the increased business and for new projects.
When organizations get fat, they get slow. All those new people find things to do, and often you start to see duplication of resources and turf battles and plenty of new projects that sap management focus from the important things. More and more time is spent in meetings and answering all the email and phone messages from folks who are trying to be relevant.
So, what is a leader to do? Here are some tips.
Be Very Stubborn: When faced with requests for more staff, refuse; until the following question is answered thoroughly: Where do you suggest cutting the equal number of jobs to fund the proposal?
Revisit Priorities Often and Focus: Use the opportunity to rank order the key initiatives, and eliminate all but the vital few. More focus and manpower against the most important thing is always a smart idea.
Institutionalize Frugality: Reward and publicize successful efforts to cut projects, increase focus, and further streamline and simplify. People need to believe that frugality is highly valued.