Multiplication by Subtraction

Linda LaitalaAround The Table, Business, Employees, Leadership, Management, Marketing, Quotes, Sales, WorkLeave a Comment

It could happen to you. A crucial member of your staff leaves. Now what?

A Roundtable member was faced with that dilemma. Replacing the employee would have been the logical choice; it would have filled out the team and made customers feel better. It would have been business as usual.

But this member had read the book Multiplication by Subtraction by Shannon Waller and Jayne Stymiest. At a meeting, she discussed the Subtraction Technique and wondered, could that work for her? She went through the five steps of the technique.

  1. List all the components.
  2. Select an essential component and imagine removing it.
  3. Visualize the result (no matter how strange it would seem).
  4. What are the potential benefits and value?
  5. If you decide it is beneficial and of value, is it feasible?

Subtraction is a powerful technique because it breaks rigidity and forces you to imagine the organization delivering new benefits in different ways.
After considering alternatives, the owner decided not to replace the employee. The positive results spread beyond what she had hoped for; other team members took more ownership, the morale of the team improved, pricing models became more accurate which has improved profitability, and customers were not impacted.

An example of the Subtraction Technique in action was unveiled by Amazon at their new Go stores. Imagine a store with no cashiers and no lines. Check it out.

Have you considered taking a different view of the “essential” components of your business?

The road is easier together,

Linda Laitala, President
Raven Performance Group

Leave a Reply