When you need to get something done, there are only two ways to go about it. Do it yourself or have someone get it done. When you are short of time, cannot get to the work location, don’t have the skills or tools to do the work, or simply don’t like doing the task. No worries, there is help!
The answer is leverage.
At the personal level, we are adept at leveraging. We hire a painter to paint our house. We use UPS to courier a package. We purchase a printer to create personalized greeting cards. We leverage tools and expertise of others to get things done.
For a business, there is no reason why it wouldn’t leverage whenever feasible to optimize results. There are 4 areas that every business needs to leverage:
- Internal expertise – Workers are most satisfied when their expertise is utilized in their job. Encourage them to share their knowledge through coaching others. Foster a culture for collaboration so that solutions are designed with the involvement of the subject matter experts. Showcase talents in town hall meetings, for example, to build awareness of the expertise.
- Best practices – Results matter. If there is a practice that works well for your business and it consistently delivers good results, exploit it by seeking opportunities to deploy the practice in other areas of the business. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Communicate the success and ensure that relevant departments are aware of the best practice. This will help them identify opportunities to integrate the best practice into their day-to-day operation.
- Tools and technology – Quality and productivity are greatly enhanced with the right tools and technology. Since the investment has been made, why not optimize your return by leveraging the tools and technology to do more. You could expand the deployment to other departments and business units. You could explore how to use more functionality inherent in the technology. You could improve the output by fine-tuning how you use the tool. You could think of new ways to use the technology to improve your business.
- External resources – Every company needs to acquire stationery for the business. It is the most basic form of leverage. You purchase paper and pens from companies that are experts in their production. It is trivial because you don’t have the expertise or the infrastructure to do the work. There are abundant external resources that you could leverage. Some of these opportunities give you a competitive advantage such as lower cost and quicker product rollout. Consider which external levers make sense for your business.
There are limited resources a business can draw on. In order to optimize results, the best approach is to leverage what you possess and engage external partners to take on work that they excel in. It is unwise to spend your limited resources on work that would require arduous effort and produce meager results.
© Connie Siu 2013. All rights reserved.