Business Sustainability: "Doing More With Less"
This week I have invited my friend, Dr. Bruce Piasecki, to share his thoughts about his new book, Doing More With Less. Bruce is the author of eight books on business strategy, valuation, and corporate change, including the Nature Society’s book of the year, In Search of Environmental Excellence: Moving Beyond Blame. He is also the president and founder of AHC Group Inc, a management consulting firm specializing in energy, materials, and environmental corporate matters.
Two statements define the context of my latest book (to be released in three weeks), Doing More with Less: The New Way to Wealth,
- The earth will soon be home to seven billion people, all seeking to share the same water, air, food, and products; and,
- While this presents major challenges to business—and to society in general—it also offers unique opportunities to the firms that recognize and capitalize on them.
The businesses that survive this challenging new millennium will be the ones that find new and lasting ways to answer key social questions about poverty, mobility, and energy now. Central to this effort is what I have dubbed “the art of competitive frugality.”
The Art of Competitive Frugality
This is about returning to the core values of industriousness and frugality that the great statesman, inventor, and author, Benjamin Franklin wrote about so eloquently two centuries ago. Fast forwarding to the 21st century, we must resist the temptation to use technology for technology’s sake, and instead focus on the creative solutions that scarcity demands. Rediscovering the vital link between frugality and competition will usher in a golden age of higher efficiencies, more direct results, and smarter competition.
Based on my experience, interviews with visionary leaders, and such diverse subjects as the passage of health care reform and the development of mega-cities around the world, the art of competitive frugality offers potent insights into such critical issues as:
- Why doing more with less will offer abundant recompense with less debt and risk—making companies more adept in the short run and more adaptive in the long run;
- How scarcity itself can open up new markets for businesses that are creative enough to uncover them;
- How to compete more effectively in terms of innovation while eliminating the kind of cutthroat business battles that thrive on cost-cutting or making enemies;
- How to generate employee loyalty though a commitment to social responsibility;
- How to deal with and eliminate the “knuckleheads” who stand in the way of success and a better future.
Fundamentally, my approach demands a return to basic principles—achieving greater balance by realigning frugality and prosperity.
For example, here are the three keys on which I run my own firm:
- Never forget the people and the rules in the act of making money.
- Return to the classic ideal of productive restraint – that is, to being agents for good in the world by doing more with less.
- Know that only you (not your boss, parents, or business school) can find your competitive advantage for creating wealth.
A “Call to Arms” for The New Millennium
I’ve worked extensively in the area of social responsibility, and believe that frugality as a business ethic offers a fresh take on the increasing role that sustainability and energy issues play in competitiveness.
Never before has the world faced such massive challenges in terms of resources, space, and rapid growth.
Businesses can either step up to these challenges and play a unique role in solving them, or be crushed along the way. Doing More With Less offers the insights and perspective leaders need to take the reins in this new environment, transform their thinking, and find a new road to success.
If you are interested in learning more about Doing More With Less, there are videos and a free chapter available for download at www.doingmorewithlessbook.com.