To survive and prosper, collect political capital in exchange for your penny-pinching. And if you can’t expand your unit or launch ambitious initiatives, focus on educating your employees on ways to economize and boost efficiency:
Follow the numbers. Adopt open-book principles by teaching your colleagues and employees about the numbers that drive the business. When people see how your company earns a profit, they may work harder.
Example: A trucking company announces a budget freeze due to higher fuel costs. A manager regularly updates his team on the firm’s operating ratio—which measures operating expense as a percentage of revenue—and rallies employees to keep it under 80 percent. This approach makes a game of keeping costs down.
Propose, don’t complain. When talking with higher-ups, identify how you and the firm can cut costs. Treat it as an exciting challenge, not a grim defeat. If you’re resilient and resourceful, you’ll reap rewards later when there’s more money.