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How to achieve more with the same (or less) resource in 2020?

While it sounds like the impossible dream, achieving more with the same level of resource isn't a magic trick, it's relatively straightforward if you adopt a framework to guide you (and your team).

My only cautionary note (and statement of the blindingly obvious), is that it involves change. I mention this because not everyone in a team embraces change, but there has to be a price to be paid somewhere to achieve the elusive goal of achieving more with the same level of resource.

The principle here is simple, you have a finite amount of time (people) and resources ($) with which to achieve meaningful outcomes. To achieve more with less you need to spend more of your finite resources on the few things that make a big difference and less of your resources on all of the other activities that ultimately don't really help you achieve your key goals.

The Pareto Principle (or 80/20 rule), is a good way to think about your current situation, 20% of your resources are likely to be spent on achieving 80% of your results.

Conversely, 80% of your resources are far less efficiently achieving only 20% of your results.

Consider, are all the 100's of activities your team deliver in a year linked back to a few important objectives? Do all those activities contribute to the objectives with the same outcome per $ or effectiveness per man hour? Are some of the activities better aligned to your objectives and more productive than others? Does your team work like a well oiled machine, or do issues occur that slow things down, increasing the cost and reducing the impact of the activity?

It can't be possible that all the activities across all the touchpoints are equally productive per man hour or $ spent.

The key then is to review both WHAT activities the team works on and HOW the team works together to rebalance the activities, by abandoning unproductive activities and working more effectively together to free up time to concentrate on the few activities that will make the big difference.

We work to a 3-step process to achieve more with the same resources.

It all starts with an audit of where you are today.


We start this process with our clients by auditing 4 key areas with their teams. The approach is tailored to each organisation, but an example is shown below;

Our approach deliberately starts by reviewing and clarifying the objectives and KPIs, to ensure they are customer-centred, clear and measurable so they can drive the prioritisation of activities and investment of resources.

We look for alignment across the team, checking for opportunities to improve the amount of time and $ spent on achieving the few objectives that have been prioritised.

Some common opportunities we come across are listed below;

WHAT the team works on;

  • Too many objectives, that aren't prioritised so trade-offs can't be made;

  • Objectives are internally centred, rather than "customer" centred;

  • No KPIs for objectives so performance can't be tracked;

  • Objectives and KPIs are not cascaded to teams to ensure each individual understands how they contribute to delivering the overall objectives;

  • Too many activities planned at the beginning of the year, restricting flexibility to adapt to a changing landscape;

HOW the team works together;

  • No single source of data, "customer" segmentation or definitions used consistently across the team;

  • Roles and responsibilities aren't defined and openly shared;

  • Time spent reacting to urgent requests distracts from achieving core objectives;

  • No shared and documented core processes used across the team that everyone follows;

  • No conflict management process to reduce friction in the team when tensions arise;

Each organisation and team is different, but addressing any one of these issues could enable you to achieve more with the same resources, addressing multiple opportunities could step-change your team's performance in one year.


Once the opportunities have been identified the next step is to decide which opportunities to prioritise and how they will fit into the work plan for 2020. It might be appropriate to form a cross-functional team, or simply add it to a senior leader's responsibilities for the year (in a manageable way).

We like to summarise the plan on one page, it's a great way to engage the team in the shared plan by keeping it simple and focussed.


Finally the collaborative implementation of the plan, which might require a restructure, workshops, training courses, new processes, new systems or just a periodic review to keep the team on-track.

So achieving more with the same (or less) resources in 2020 isn't magic, it's driven by a structured assessment of where you are currently and addressing the opportunities discovered;

  • Get more done with the same (or less) resources - by rebalancing your activities and resources.

  • Break down entrenched team silos and build highly collaborative cross functional teams - by developing shared objectives, KPIs, ways of working and conflict resolution mechanisms.

  • Stop being so busy managing the tsunami of last minute urgent requests your team receives - by allocating time and creating a process to proactively manage them.

  • Improve your team’s responsiveness to a changing market place - by aligning the team to share objectives and processes, changes in direction can be quickly implemented.

  • Refocus on your customers needs to improve their customer experience - carefully consider the initial objectives and KPIs to try capture the customer behaviour change your are looking to influence.

Implementing this approach can be successfully completed in-house, but if you would like to discuss this approach further, please let me know and let's have a no obligation chat, we would be happy to help.

At MacMorgan we help institutions take a student centred approach to growth, if you'd like to find out more about our unique approach, please contact me.

Click here for previous weeks blogs.

John Chatterton

+61432 906 790


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