If the “more-with-less crisis” is followed by another “more-with-less crisis” and yet another, simple arithmetic indicates with each “more” there is a lot “less.” And then that becomes the norm.
Toward the end of my high school teaching career the principal presented the assembled faculty with something like this at the end-of-the-year school meeting….
We have a budget crunch coming at us next school year. So everyone will end up with a few more students in your classes. Only 2 or 3 more. Also, the duplicating budget will be drastically reduced. We have less in the way of resources to do our jobs.
But you can do it. After all, it’s all about the students.
That announcement became a ritual for a number of years. The news was not much better at the college level. We would get emails along the lines of….
Due to shrinking budgets and decreasing enrollment we will need to… stop providing you with printing cartridges/close the department office/eliminate professional development funding for conferences/reduce the number of classes/increase the students per class/require faculty to teach on more than one campus….
A director of a national training and recruitment organization shared how she and her colleagues have endured multiple reorganizations and increased work responsibilities.
We have to do more with less.
One college mis-manager reportedly told employees after a bloodletting reorganization, salary reduction (for those remaining), and approximately a 50% layoff of staff….
Don’t complain. Be happy you have a job.
More with less has been in my experience a mantra that never ends. If the “more-with-less crisis” is followed by another “more-with-less crisis” and yet another, simple arithmetic indicates we end up requiring more of the team ad nauseam. And with each more there is a lot less. And then that becomes the norm. I never witnessed a return to the point when there were more resources followed by a concomitant reduction in load. Never saw more accompanied by less. Wasted opportunities on so many levels.
Those subscribing to such notions can hurt their mission, customer base, and employees’ wellbeing.
Consider what enterprising leaders can do in those times of less. Instead of overwhelming and stressing their team, they could use the “down time” as a time for more personal and professional development. If we have, for the time being, less clients to serve maybe we could provide our staff with more:
- Meaningful professional and personal development opportunities.
- Wellbeing coaching.
- Career counseling (as in, how can we help our employees develop beyond their current job capacities even if means they find employment elsewhere).
- Conversations about weak signals.
- Opportunities for community service.
- Empowerment to jettison archaic, clunky, and no longer useful practices.
Transformational leaders provide opportunities for developing, serving, and nourishing more during times of less. And they understand that lean times can offer the chance to streamline process—not add to the process in the name of “do this to keep your job.”
Transactional leaders ask for more with less until their team members have less and less of themselves to give or develop.
Video recommendation for the week:
Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.
For information about and to order my book, Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here. A number of colleges and one state-wide agency have adopted it for training and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.
Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).
(c) 2018. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.