'Low-Hanging Fruit' is Released
To boost productivity and profits, most companies think big with "transformational projects" and "cost-cutting initiatives." But today's smartest companies are getting better results with greater ease and at a fraction of the cost by thinking small and reaching for the low-hanging fruit: the thousands of small solvable problems your employees closest to the work already know are the source of their company's inefficiencies.
As Jeremy Eden and Terri Long reveal in LOW-HANGING FRUIT: 77 Eye-Opening Ways to Improve Productivity and Profits (Wiley; March 2014), that one big idea of yours will never boost your company's earnings as much as the thousands of small ideas that could bubble up from your employees if you coax them out and act on them.
For example, PNC Financial created a strong culture of not just encouraging but requiring those closest to the work to find and fix the problems in their processes. In their initial program, PNC yielded 2400 ideas worth $400 million annually. Then, after merging with National City, they applied the same fact-based high speed rigor to the integration. The result was another $2 billion in operating efficiencies - double what analysts expected.
Eden and Long show how anyone at any level of a company large or small can harvest all the low-hanging fruit - and some that is not so low-hanging - to grow earnings, make customers happier, and increase morale. Their contrarian advice includes:
- Turn misleading metrics upside down tozero in on the ugly and rattle the status quo
- Stop wasting time benchmarking because invariably it creates more excuses than insights
- Get new perspective with an interdepartmental job swap to find hidden problems
- Avoid "gold plating" - doing the best job when a good job will suffice
- Embrace conflict to eliminate bad decisions caused by "executive exuberance"
- Replace typical meeting agendas that are just lists of topics with game plans that require preparation before, specific actions during, and follow-up after
- Boost morale by firing the bad performers that burden the good ones
- Avoid the "unintentional squelch" - inadvertently killing ideas with subtle but easily misinterpreted body language
Packed with 77 practical ideas like these, LOW-HANGING FRUIT will change your mindset so you can find and conquer inefficiencies and boost your productivity and profits as never before.
About the authors
Jeremy Eden and Terri Long are the Co-CEOs of Harvest Earnings, an advisory services firm that helps companies to engage their employees in growing earnings and improving the customer experience. They have helped companies like PNC Financial, H.J. Heinz, and Manpower to reduce costs and increase revenues by millions of dollars. Jeremy has decades of consulting and performance improvement experience in business including at McKinsey & Co. Terri was in the corporate banking world for eighteen years including at U.S. Bancorp considered one of the most efficient banks in the country, before joining Jeremy fourteen years ago. They are based in Chicago.