Doing less with less — but doing it well — is essential, and difficult
By John Wilpers, Partner
By John Wilpers, Partner
Katahdin Media Management
The manager who coined the phrase “Do More with Less” almost certainly did not have to do more with less himself.
The slogan was so transparently a manager’s glib “solution" to a financial crisis that it should have been debunked immediately.
But it wasn’t.
Instead, we burned out and lost valuable staff … and never actually ended up doing more with less. We just did more poorly.
The solution, then as now, is to do less with less, but to do it in a way that achieves the measurable goals we determine to be the most important to our success, instead of just volume for volume’s sake.
Doing less with less takes just four steps, but they’re tough ones:
Identify the key components of your mission and the KPIs by which you measure success
Give all of your products and services an ROI test to see which measurably hit those KPIs
Kill all those that don’t measure up
Start doing less: Reduce the workload to focus solely on high-ROI products and take the time to do them well
Number three is the hardest, but let me address numbers one and two first.
1. Identify the key components of your mission and and the KPIs by which you measure success
We recommend involving either everyone in the company (if it’s small) or a good representation of all levels of the company to discuss the mission and identify the key measurable goals. You need buy-in and this is the only way to get it.
Boiling your mission statement down to the products and services that fulfill the mission will enable you to identify what success measurably looks like.
2. Identify which products and services are measurably advancing that mission
Not all products and services are equal. Using the KPI measure from your mission statement, create and apply an ROI test to everything. Rank each.
3. Kill those that don’t measure up
This gets painful. You have products and services you’ve “always” produced, or new products you had high hopes for. They might feel like part of your DNA. But numbers don’t lie. If historic or new products or types of stories aren’t hitting the numbers you’ve identified, it’s time to kiss them goodbye.
Shedding products and services is the only way to actually do less.
Also, no cheating! You can’t add new stuff, effectively keeping the workload at the status quo, or making it worse. We see that all the time. If you want to add new things, kill more existing work.
4. Reduce the workload to focus solely on high-ROI products
By eliminating low-ROI work and reducing the production quota, you will enable your content and product creators to dedicate quality time to the highest-ROI projects.
For example, Gannett reduced its reporters’ story loads by 50%, resulting in far fewer stories, but, guess what? Those high-quality stories resulted in more subscriptions and greater retention than the bushels of under-researched, hurriedly written, low-value stories their stretched-thin writers had been banging out.
This is not easy. But it’s the only way to survive and thrive in the current media financial climate.
However, it’s not just the only way. It’s also the smartest way.
Regardless of financial climate, focusing resources on work that produces results should be standard operating procedure.
My team at Katahdin Media Management does this kind of work with media companies all around the world. We’d be happy to chat with you for free about your challenges. Email me (john@katahdinmediamanagement) or text me (+1-617-688-0137).