Query the Word
Once upon a time in an office far, far away, I sat with my peers around our boss’ conference table. He had just returned from his boss’ conference table with The Word.
And The Word was: “Do More with Less.”
My peers wrote that down. I watched them. Sigh. It was going to be one of those days when I questioned The Word.
Thunder rumbled in the distance.
At the time, I was at the head of an organization with domestic and international missions, an R&D mandate, and a number of projects. Doing what we had to do with what we had to do it was tough enough.
I asked softly without emotion, “What does that mean, Sir?” He peered but did not speak. I waited. But no one spoke.
To ensure that we wouldn’t be there through lunch, I spoke again, “I can do less with less. I can do more with more. I refuse to do less with more. But I don’t understand how I can do more with less.”
More thunder – closer now.
In for a penny, in for a pound. “I suppose, if I had the funds, I could make a capital investment in more efficient tools or processes, and then one could compare as-is to to-be and conclude that I was doing more with less.”
The Word continued. “Next item. Prepare your budgets for next year at ten per cent less than this year.”
Lightning flashed and brought light into that room. Thunder rattled the windows.
My peers all spoke at once, ‘Do the same with less? Seriously?’ I said nothing. We were there through lunch.
My point: Stand up to platitudes and fads and quips and clichés. Look into them. Demand meaning. Stand on a foundation of knowledge. Let there be light.
Particularly during the upcoming election when a candidate gives you The Word.
by Stuart Syme