Do More with Less


There is a common theme that we are hearing from leaders as we begin 2023.

“Do more with less.”

Both certainty and uncertainty about the macro-economic, political, international and business environments are forcing leaders to recognize they must do things differently if they are going to succeed over the next 12 to 18 months.

In response, budgets are being cut, workers are being laid off, hiring frozen, advertising reduced. And yet, leadership expects those who are still onboard to sell, assemble, and ship the same or greater amount of products and services than they did in 2022.

If this describes your company, how are you equipping your leaders for this change? How will they actually manage to ‘do more with less’?

Let me offer you this tip: The leaders who report to you won’t tell you they don’t know what to do. Those who remain, who still have jobs, will likely not come forward and admit they cannot do what you are asking. To do so would require vulnerability.

Dr. Brené Brown (author of The Gifts of Imperfection and TED talk speaker on The Power of Vulnerability) tells us that our two autopilot responses when we feel vulnerable are:

  1. “To puff up” – in which I stick out my chest and say, “Of course I’ve got this.” When in reality, I don’t know what to do; or
  2. “To shrink back” – whereby, again, I don’t know what to do, but without saying anything I just quietly disappear and hope you won’t check on me…

Recently, several of our coaches facilitated a retreat for a company who wanted to proactively equip their leaders to do more with less. When we initially surveyed the 30 leaders, we asked them their strategies for accomplishing more in 2023 with the same or less resources. The overwhelming response was some version of…

“I will need to do more of the work by myself.”

This would have defined their individual game plans had their CEO not invited us in to explicitly have a conversation about how they were really going to adapt to this new mantra – do more with less – in 2023.

As they strategized with one another, they each developed more workable personal strategies that were aligned with the corporate goal. What these leaders discovered through this process was that the majority of them needed to engage more with others to get things done. Instead of quietly trying to do it all themselves, they needed the courage to ask for help and better leverage teamwork.

In the end, we helped them reframe from ‘how to do more with less’ to…

“Let’s do more together.

They got here because their leadership cared enough to equip them to navigate change, which led to vulnerability and honest conversations about how they would actually execute the change – together.

What changes are you expecting from your people in the coming year? How are you confirming they can do what you are asking? Better yet, how are you equipping them to work and lead in new ways?

If something needs to change at your company, but you’re not sure how to really make it happen, contact me. McKinnon Leadership Group helps leaders and their organizations change every day. We can help you too.