“Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the earth with a lever.” — Archimedes
Use Leverage to Turbocharge your resources
What do these devices all have in common?
They create leverage, a simple but extraordinary tool that increases the force, or power, of everything to which it is applied. Engineers use a more complicated definition, but you and I know that we need at least three things to create leverage: a 1] fulcrum, or pivot point; 2] a load being moved; and 3] a force that’s moving it.
Leverage has never been more important
Leverage is even more invaluable following the 30-month economic drought. Most of us have fewer resources to solve the problems we face every day … so we need as much leverage as we can muster to turbocharge the resources at our command. Financial leverage may be one the first things that come to mind, but I want to talk about at least five pivot points that can drive your business to greater success.
Are you doing everything possible to leverage your time? It not only empowers others to learn and grow, but it increases the chance that the most important things won’t get overlooked.
You already know that you can leverage your time by delegating responsibilities to others in your organization. But have you really concentrated on that option lately? Even if it involves multiple people taking up the slack in a variety of tasks, it all adds up and will open up some time for you to do the things most important to your organization.
I’ve written and spoken often about the importance of personal productivity, discipline and focus to help business leaders accomplish those things that only THEY can do. It is critical that you look for resources within your organization to make sure you're doing the things that ONLY YOU can do.
(A personal footnote. Empowered by the reach and accessibility of the personal computer, executives have worked over the last 20 years with dramatically reduced secretarial and administrative support, in part believing that they could now do much of that work themselves. While this approach has achieved cost reduction benefits, it has hurt executive performance and productivity more than ever expected.)
Outsourcing can leverage your investment capability while expanding your resources. Hiring contract manufacturers to build your products, public warehouses to distribute them, independent reps to sell them … are just some of the ways that you can expand your resources on a “pay as you go” basis rather than by direct investment.
I’m a strong advocate of these approaches, for not only their ability to leverage scarce investment resources, but their flexibility when plans change. You can switch to another contract manufacturer if your customer base shifts; it’s not so easy to move a plant you wish had been built in a different place.
3. Create New Partnerships
Creating a partnership may be a “kissing cousin” of outsourcing, but it’s a contractual relationship of a higher order. It usually denotes a greater commitment of resources as a well as a greater responsibility for the outcome. Engaging with a partner leverages your financial and human resources and gives you the opportunity to do more than you could on your own. Yes, there are risks to “sharing with a partner”, but the rewards from that kind of leverage can also be striking.
4. Team up with other business executives
4. You can leverage your intellectual resources by establishing a board of advisors, or by expanding your board of directors to include outside professionals from different industries and viewpoints. You can also join a peer group like the Exkalibur Leadership Forum, or other leadership groups, that offer timely and regular access to diverse experiences, insights and opinions. “Two heads are better than one,” still works.
5. Social Media
Social media has gained phenomenal traction in the last several years and it’s really only beginning. There are many tools … Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube to name a few of the more prominent platforms … that enable all of us to reach a wider network among colleagues, employees, vendors and customers. As we leverage the opportunity to build broader and deeper relationships across the globe, we can make a dramatic difference in our outreach to those communities. Our products become more visible, we strengthen the relationship with our customers, and we communicate more easily with employers and employees to respond to new challenges and threats.
What can you do to leverage your resources?
What are some of the ways in which you have leveraged your resources … financial, human, intellectual and time? Where are you going to focus now? Let me know what's working for you.