Home > Leadership, The Monday Musings Column > cutting cost is easy; you just have to spend a little

cutting cost is easy; you just have to spend a little

 

One of the things that leaders need to do is to make space for their followers so that they can do their jobs. Keeping the flies away as one of my early mentors used to put it, although his choice of words was a little more colourful.

There are many ways by which you can perform that service; keeping them out of trouble is one, making sure that there is enough pressure to drive them, but not so much as to swamp them is another. But the most important is to make sure that they have what they need to do the job effectively and efficiently.

In my mentoring sessions I am often asked what my hardest and easiest jobs have been. The hardest have been when I have been working for an incompetent or a coward (or both) for those days are truly long ones. The easiest job would be any of the three that I held over a period of just over ten years when I was King of the Hill; the buck stopped at my desk and it was my job that was on the line.

It doesn’t matter how much money is involved; noughts on the end of the number might make it look big, but noughts are just zeroes. being in sole charge provides some pressure, but it takes a lot away as well because you know that it is all down to how well you can lead the team. You have created your own space and your resources are there to use in the best way that you can.  That level of freedom is exhilarating and I always tried to make sure that I gave my teams as much freedom as I could.

One of the things that we all have to face is the challenge of doing more with less, but the easiest way to do that is to spend. It may sound odd when you are faced with cutting budgets on all fronts, but a lot of what organisations spend is not spent well and the key to reducing cost is not to stop spending, but to start spending more wisely.  Cost cutting often leads to buying inferior products or pushing contractors to cut cost, but all these things pull quality down and not only do that cost more in the long run through having to buy more it also reduces morale with the knock on drop in productivity. Good people leave with the cost of recruiting, training and getting up to speed of their replacements and that costs money too. cost cutting is almost always the start of a downward spiral.

If you are in the hot seat you will have an eye on the finances. It is a key part of your job, but so is delivering what you are charged with in the way of performance and it is a lot easier to manage your costs when you have your team firing on all cylinders. Keep them motivated, give them space to work in and they will deliver everything that you ask of them, including saving money. Just remember that you need to spend a little on giving them the tools of the trade so that they can deliver.

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