The Art of Leverage – In Good Times and Not-As-Good Times…

I have always liked the term ‘leverage’ to describe ways to get more done with less effort (applied to me, it always sounded better than the word ‘lazy’). When I talk with clients, I define leverage as getting more (i.e. time, productivity, money) from what you have (i.e. people, processes, technology). I consider gaining leverage as more of an art than a science, since it requires perspective, insight and creativity along with the ability to effectively implement change involving people, processes and technology.

Increased leverage is critical in order to grow your business profitably. Leverage is also very important when it’s time to ‘tighen the belt’ allowing you greater margin to weather ‘economic disturbances’ more effectively. Just think of what you could do if you had more time to focus on strategy as opposed to reacting and putting out fires (not to mention improved health)? What if you could better leverage the time of your staff to get more done without adding more people? Can you imagine finding new revenue opportunities or ways to save money or time if you operated a bit differently?
Doing more with what you have is always a good idea. Here are some signs that there is opportunity to gain value through leverage (indicated by ‘yes’ answers and qualified by the type and size of your business).

  • Do you get pulled into participating in projects or operational details by your staff?
  • Do customers and/or staff consistently call you in to solve their problems?
  • Do you find yourself and/or your key managers tied up ‘doing’ what you/they are supposed to be ‘managing’?
  • Is there any confusion or mis-steps in the process of moving your customers from proposal through sale through delivery and follow-up?
  • Are you unsure which customers are truly profitable and which are not (including intrinsic factors)?
  • Is it painful for you to get useful information quickly?
  • Is there any doubt that you/your people have all the information that you/they need to make effective, timely decisions?
  • Do you ever doubt the accuracy of the information that you do get?
  • Is it possible that there is some underutilized or untapped capability available from the internal systems and technology that you already have?
  • Is there any chance that your people might not be properly trained or have what they need to do their jobs well?
  • Is there any question about the motivation and attitude of your staff?
  • Do you ever wonder if your financial resources are being used and managed as efficiently as possible?
  • Does your intuition tell you that there may be ways make your business operate better?

In good times or not-as-good times, finding new ways to leverage your resources can put money in your pocket, time in your day and value in your business (inferring, of course, the shameless subliminal self-promotion conspicuous in its absence).


  1. Susan Janssen says:

    Awesome, Fred!

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