I remember reading Thomas Friedman’s book, The World is Flat, back in 2005. It struck me how we no longer need to look locally but can go anywhere in the world to get things done.
At the time, I recalled how large accounting firms took 1040s, the tax returns they prepared, and sent them to India to handle basic data entry and number crunching. Believe it or not, a few years later, India was outsourcing to Vietnam, where they could get it done for $1 an hour less. An incredible example of how fast things were moving and how flat the world was becoming.
Fast forward to the 2008/2009 crisis and the pressures it brought. Business owners, perhaps yourself, were becoming laser-focused and asking themselves: How can I do more with less? More specifically, how can I do more without hiring new people? While going overseas may have been a first thought, some looked to find ways to get more out of their current staff.
I believe that some useful solutions come straight from psychology and what a lot of brain scientists are finding out today. To me, getting the most from your employees can be partly accomplished by better understanding elements of their psychological profile. What motivates them? With the ability to decide, what actions will they take? What will they struggle with?
There are companies that have developed excellent profile tools. There’s a great one called StrengthsFinder, created by some people at Gallup, the polling folks. Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton put this together. StrengthsFinder shows you a person’s top five talents; the top five strengths of each team member.
The important point is this. When you look at Friedman’s world-flattening outsourcing, you’re seeing linear savings. You find cost savings in some areas you could do more cheaply externally. But it’s linear. You add by subtracting.
When you use your existing team’s natural talents, it’s more of an exponential increase. You add by multiplying. This is especially true if you have personnel whose strengths are not being utilized or encouraged at all.
I think many times the trend is to go out and find new talent and bring new people in to meet that particular need. You want to increase your firm more than just linearly. But often the capability is right there with your current people who have these untapped or under-utilized strengths.
How do you find that out and work with it? I would start with one of the assessments I mentioned above. Then mentor and encourage each person to understand what their strengths are and try them out. It could even be in different areas within your company. This will make a huge difference, multiplying your business with already-existing talents.
Look inside first, rather than going outside. You’ll find some hidden treasures there amongst your staff.
At Coyle Financial Counsel, we use several of the techniques I mentioned above. They have helped us grow and simplify our business. That is our goal for ourselves and our clients: growth and simplification.
If you want to find out more about how to maximize your staff with these different tools or get a little more help on it, please give us a call.
If you’re ready to grow and simplify your wealth, call us at 800-480-7913; we’d love to speak with you. We offer a complimentary consultation to guide you on that path.
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