Many years ago when I was an Assistant Brand Manager at a CPG company I stumbled upon a process that I thought was hugely wasteful. I thought I had a better and cheaper way of doing it so I bounced my idea off a colleague.

He was the Purchasing Manager and had been with a company for 15 years.

I told him my idea. He rolled his eyes and asked me “Are you the owner of this company?”   Of course my answer was no.  He then told me, “Don’t waste your time”.

That answer has struck with me for 25 years. There are many people in companies that see a lot of waste and inefficiency but see no reason to change it.

It’s not their company.

Agencies tend to have a lot of inefficient processes and things that are done in a certain way because “that’s the way it’s done”. And Management is too busy holding the fort together to worry about these things, so nothing ever changes.

To change things for the better, employees have to have a stake in the change.

So here is a suggestion. Set up a system where any employee can suggest an improvement in the way things are done.

Have a group of senior people to review the suggestions. If they agree to implement the change, quantify the savings generated in a year and give the employee a bonus for 20% of the savings. If the Finance people don’t let you hand out the bonus, reward employees in other non- monetary yet attractive ways. And make sure everyone hears about the reward. The more buzz you create the more cost savings submissions you will have.

It’s an easy win/win. The Agency will get 80% of the savings of a change that would not have been made under normal circumstances, and the employee now will be interested in making things run smoother.

All of a sudden, efficiency is not about cost reductions and nickel and diming employees. It is lucrative!

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