Delivering more by doing less

We have noticed that key events, milestones or thresholds prompt reflection and that’s important – https://laing-russell.com/2023/11/30/looking-back-to-look-ahead/. Prompted by a couple of recent events, a business strategy discussion amongst the Laing Russell team and receiving client feedback, yielded this insight that weirdly we do deliver more when we do less. We don’t think we are promoting the idea of being lazy. However, some may see it that way. We are inviting us all to slow down and take what you do as a leader to a new level. A new level that is less intense, takes up less space, takes less explicit responsibility for action, dials back the leadership guidance (no matter how subtle) and yet delivers more sustainable value.

Our story as consultants is that we find ourselves doing less than we once did. We are doing less of the discovery work, less analysis, less design and development, less detailed roadmap and programme planning, less management. And yet we find ourselves being more influential in the delivery of valued outcomes. Outcomes for individuals, for teams and for organisations as whole. From the acknowledged leadership development of an individual member of a Chief Information Officer’s team, to working through some difficult issues and conversations amongst leadership teams through to new organisations structures and operating models being taken into changed behaviours and practice across the enterprise.

To slow down and pause, reflect, engage with relevant implicit and explicit knowledge resources you have, be curious about what else may work and then decide on what to do next. With the added thought that you may be even more productive, you may deliver more value for your enterprise as a leader if you do less. Our thought is that this approach is not just recommending the classic management leadership stuff of delegating and empowering teams and colleagues. It is about doing less leadership. Maybe just listening very hard, maybe asking a question, maybe just telling a (short, relevant) story.

Curiously, if we live by this insight we should stop there! We certainly do not know what will work for you. Hopefully, we are giving you enough to pause and think and prompt you to try a new behaviour and see what happens. Let us know.