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  • Writer's pictureTerry Dockery

Build 15% Slack Into Your Business

We business men and women love efficiency. What's not to love? Time is money, right? 

Why not shoot for 100% efficiency in your organizational design? For goodness sake, you don't want to add the cost of more personnel until everyone on board already is significantly overstretched, right? 

Wrong. Here's why:

  1. Overstretched team members become fatigued and the quality of their work suffers. Just like their leader, they become reactive instead of creative and proactive. 

  2. In addition, team members become disenchanted with your leadership and then disengaged. "If my leader doesn't care about my happiness and success, why should I care about theirs. I'll find myself a better leader and a better work environment." 

  3. If you get a significant increase in new business, you can easily overwhelm your current organization. You then run the risk of losing quality in your product or service and ruining your brand in the marketplace. This particular mistake is very hard to recover from--most folks don't. "Those guys used to be great to do business with, but no longer. We need to find a new provider we can depend on for good quality." 

What can you do instead? Hire proactively and slightly ahead of need. The recommendation from the organizational design research is to build around 15% slack in your business to absorb the ebbs and flows in demand and to avoid the problems of team member burnout. 

This a great example of proactive leadership and "working smart" in action. 

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