If you want to be great at work—work less!
Organizations around the world are struggling to keep up with the complex demands of their clients and constituents while restrained by reduced budgets and limited resources. Individuals and teams are frantically trying to come up with the next big idea that will drive revenues or reduce costs but are overwhelmed by the process. Hysteria abounds, projects flop, and market share flickers like a candle in a cold dark room with cracks in the mortar.
In a world where people are struggling to do more with less, the answer is not to fuel up on Starbucks, set your hair on fire, and simply work harder with fewer resources. The answer is to manage the fire by working smarter with what resources you have—caffeine is optional.
Lean times call for lean ideas.
In his book, The Lean Startup, Eric Reis discovers and explores a concept called a Minimal Viable Product (MVP), an idea generation process that requires minimum amount of effort within the least amount of development time. In the world of Startups, an MVP helps entrepreneurs and business leaders go through the product development learning curve as quickly and effectively as possible. A Minimal Viable Product doesn’t mean that it has to be a tiny project or product, it simple means that you accelerate your learning cycle on what will or won’t work in the market place by testing a piece of your idea with minimal time and resources.
A fundamental mistake leaders often make, at all levels of an organization, is that they attempt to solve a big problems and challenges all at once. Good leaders of self and others understand that for every major responsibility they have, there are sets of goals that can help guide them toward success. Further more, within those goals are a series of tasks that can be broken down into manageable, executable projects, while testing the solution theories for reliability and effectiveness. The smaller the task, the less energy expanded, and the more likely you will be able to make quick adjustments that drive you toward an effective resolution of the larger problem, one small step at a time.
Creating Minimal Viable Products or Tasks is not just a means to find answer to technical or finical questions; but also a means to test fundamental business or social ideas before wasting too much time and talent creating a solution that nobody will invest in. Today’s leader of self or others needs to put out minimal viable effort. In other words, today’s leader needs to think lean—to work less in order to achieve more.
Jason Diamond Arnold is a Leadership Consultant and Learning Media Specialist at The Ken Blanchard Companies. He is Coauthor of Situational Self Leadership in Action, a virtual learning experience that helps individuals collaborate with others more effectively.