Efficiency: One Simple Plan to Lose Less Money

Organizations would be rich if they stopped losing money.

20% of every dollar earned by a company in the US is lost to employee time theft. Losses from theft, fraud, and other retail “shrink” in 2019 totaled $61.7 billion.* That’s up 11.1 billion from the more honest year before.

The goal of losing less money begins with small desks. People behind big desks are comically blind to efficiency. They lose money while trying to cut costs.

Efficiency is inversely proportional to the size of a leader’s desk. The smaller the desk the more efficient the leader.

How to be efficient: Arrogance is less efficient than humility. Image of a shy goose.

3 commandments to improve efficiency:

Open space on a desk is a lagoon of procrastination. Papers and folders pile up; follow-through goes down. A person with a small desk can’t put stuff off.

Commandment #1: Thou shalt give small desks to promoted leaders.

Distance weakens relationships. The greater the expanse between the person behind the desk and the person in front of the desk the thinner the relationship.

Thin relationships cost more money than tight.

Commandment #2: Thou shalt strengthen relationships when expectations go up.

Everything you do to protect ego infringes on efficiency. Image of a suit of armor.

Big desks encourage the illusion of importance. The more important you feel the less able you are to see reality.

Arrogance is less efficient than humility.

Butt kissing costs millions in lost productivity. Big desks inspire fraudulent compliments, dancing around the pole of veracity, and head nodding.

Leaders need to cultivate humility, not inflate their egos. Everything you do to protect ego infringes on efficiency.

Command #3: Thou shalt treat others as more important than yourself.

My simple plan to increase efficiency begins with eliminating big desks. Thankfully, in a mobile world desks and offices are less important. Don’t get me started on staging video calls.

What symptoms of arrogance do you see in organizations?

What advantages do you see in humble leadership?

Dig deeper:

7 Ways to Teach Humility in Team Meetings

3 Things We Get Wrong About Humility

How to Improve Your Productivity at Work

*56 Relevant Employee Theft Statistics: 2023 Data on Perpetrators & Prevention