Improve the Fulcrum
To take full advantage of workplace leverage, strive not only to strengthen yourself and your employees, but also to reposition or even replace your fulcrum. The fulcrum is the hinge or pivot a beam acts against to multiply the input force. It could be a handy rock, a log, or a seesaw pivot point. At work, a good fulcrum should be the right size, height, and position to work most effectively with your productivity machine.
So how do you make sure you’re using the correct fulcrum to coax maximum leverage from your system?
1. Equip your team members with the right tools. Provide employees with laptops, software, smartphones, fast Internet—whatever it takes to maximize their productivity. In fact, let them provide their own tools if they want. If someone is willing to use their personal equipment or their own time for your benefit, you’d have to be crazy to say no.
2. Provide unrestricted access to your resources. Similarly, let your employees link their personal tools into your intranets and archives. Don’t respond like so many shortsighted, paranoid leaders do, restricting access to company resources. It’s inefficient to require them to use and attempt to sync between multiple devices.
3. Outsource to experts. Outsourcing is simply a form of subcontracting, where you hire people to do something you can’t economically do in-house. That may include anything from washing windows to handling the bookkeeping or fielding tech support calls. With the internet, you can quickly reach right around the world to develop these relationships—or just as far as next door.
4. Develop new partnerships. Share resources with other teams, seek new alliances with other organizations, and maximize your vendor relationships.
5. Be careful about what you cut. Short-term cuts to lighten the load may seem viable now, but they could prove disastrous in the long term…especially if they deprive you of skilled employees and resources you’ll need later. Rather than resort to drastic surgical measures, find ways to increase your team’s productivity instead.
You have many options for improving the fulcrum of your team leverage machine, as noted above. Done correctly, you’ll enjoy long-term results that will put your team consistently ahead in the marketplace without worrying about loss of quality, value, or reputation.