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Squeezing more from less

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in Leaders & Managers,Team Building

Like many executives, Jack Dailey needs to do more with less. As a director at Avis Budget Group in Virginia Beach, Va., Dailey adopts a forward-thinking mindset to boost his 12 management employees’ productivity.

“I’m asking them to identify those things that are critical to our organization versus nice-to-haves,” he says. “That way, we’ll know what has to get done and separate what’s necessary from everything else.”

As staffers examine their job responsibilities to differentiate critical duties from nice-to-have assignments, Dailey has them ask, “What’s the value proposition of a particular function versus the time spent on it?”

He also periodically reviews procedures with them so they examine why they do a particular task. They’ll explore whether it’s still necessary to perform or if it can be automated.

The resulting dialogue helps the group prioritize more effectively. In today’s constantly changing world, priorities can shift quickly.

When an employee leaves the organization, Dailey encourages managers to avoid hiring a replacement. Instead, he arranges for workers to receive cross-training so that they can fill holes created by the open position. This broadens their skill set while containing payroll cost.

“Our goal is to get everyone thinking about ways to help us operate more efficiently now and down the line,” says Dailey, a 36-year veteran at the company. “By thinking about these issues as a unit and finding ways to improve, it improves morale.”

Lessons Learned

You’re asking more from your team. But you can’t pay them more. To motivate under such challenging conditions:

Level with people. To gain buy-in from workers and turn them into problem-solvers, Jack Dailey adopts a straightforward tone. He tells employees, “Your input can help shape our fate. That’s better than me telling you what we have to do.”

Hype cross-training. Dailey acknowledges that some employees chafe when asked to take on additional responsibilities when they’re already swamped. He responds by telling them, “This will make you more valuable and versatile. In tough times, those individuals who bring the most value to the table tend to survive and thrive.”

Open doors for dialogue. Dailey is accessible and welcomes questions. When staffers can voice their concerns and clarify their duties, it fosters openness and prevents misunderstanding.


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