“Doing More With Less” Shows Businesses A New Path To Success

Insteading interviews Dr. Bruce Piasecki, author "Doing More With Less: The New Way To Wealth," which hits shelves this month.

Thrifty Business

The economy is in chaos, and many of the world’s richest countries are coming to terms with immense debt and a disenfranchised workforce. There are few viable green franchises or business opportunities. Dr. Bruce Piasecki, author of the forthcoming Doing More With Less: The New Way To Wealth says that while this pressure cooker presents major challenges to business–and to society in genera–it also offers unique opportunities to the firms that recognize the wisdom of acting thriftily, and capitalize on them.

Insteading had the chance to ask Dr. Piasecki a few questions about this new approach to thinking about and doing business in a shifting economic paradigm. Here’s what he had to say:

INS:Ā What’s the biggest difference between the path to wealth/successĀ that you advocate in the book, and the way most people pursue it in today’sĀ society and business world?

Dr. Piasecki: What I write about in Doing More With Less is both a forgotten and provenĀ path of wealth thru industriousness and competitive frugality. Many greatsĀ have followed this path from Ben Franklin to the great World War II writerĀ E. F. Schumacher in his work “Small is Beautiful.”Ā But today its themes mean more to a world of 7 billion souls, with limitedĀ water, energy, and opportunity.

In my years as a management consultant working for large global firms, IĀ find three competing things true:

1. Most people fall into patterns of professional discourse and entrenchedĀ spirals of peer argumentation. Lawyers, engineers, corporate planners getĀ narrow, risk adverse.

2. I advocate that we can, and must, remember our first sense of beingĀ competitive in a different way and go back at it again and again, each day.

3. This primal self of invention and frugality allows new growth, even inĀ mature adults. We must look at the full glory of creating and keepingĀ wealth, not just the material gains that come from it, which includes theĀ value of social capital. This is possible by learning from Ben Franklin –Ā frugality, inventiveness, and diplomacy.

INS: Why is it so important for emerging companies to adopt a “doing more withĀ less” mentality, rather than trying to emulate the status quo?

Dr. Piasecki:Ā The “Doing More with Less” mentality is a healthy lens through which we canĀ look at this newly globalized world of scarcity and alarm. You can see thisĀ in the 30 years of practice at my firm, where firms asĀ different as Warren Buffett’s Shaw Industries and Toyota found value in ourĀ approach to competitive frugality.Ā Once you learn to participate in this new, larger form of social wealthĀ creation, the world becomes a more intelligible and acceptable place. I alsoĀ believe that operating in this mindset can help a new company flourish in aĀ world that is likely to be capital- and carbon-restrained. This is why DoingĀ More with Less is the mantra for success for a life, your family, your firm,Ā whether large or small today. Franklin shows that we all must become frugal,Ā innovative and peace loving again, as we all share this same boat and theĀ same seas.

INS:Ā What’s your perspective on the (very tech-based) collaborativeĀ consumption/P2P industry and their potential to impact the business world?

Dr. Piasecki:Ā I find great promise here. We live in a swift and severe world, as IĀ described in my previous book. You may find business opportunities and green franchises at the ready. However, you can ride [the] with waveĀ with more certainty and success if you consider the principles outlined inĀ the personal narratives of Doing More With Less. The two books are sistersĀ in a family that answers this question about new potential.

In addition, Social networks and the ability to share workloads among peopleĀ in different parts of the world ties directly to my message. We do thisĀ every day in my management firm, where seasoned seniors work with newĀ economist and recent college grads.

In a world that is ever increasingly connected and transparent, we need toĀ harness technology to the maximum societal benefit, in a way that spreadsĀ democracy and global well-being. We must change the machines not just theĀ laws, and most important, we must avoid the dangerous dance of excessiveĀ debt and become again self determining.

Image Credit: Flickr – get directly down

Written by Beth Buczynski

3 Comments

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  1. Returning to the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin, Bruce Piasecki shows how frugality and social responsibility produce creativity and wealth in the broadest sense. His voice is strong and his message is clear.
    Babsl

  2. This is an important book, and it’s been my pleasure to work with Bruce as we look to formalize its principles into a world-class training curriculum. Frugality and prosperity go hand in hand, and Bruce’s deep experience and expertise provides a roadmap to make this happen.

  3. Bruce Piaseckiā€™s book, ā€œDoing More With Less,ā€ delivers a clarion call to values-centered action as relevant to the general reader as it is for corporations. Ben Franklinā€™s principle of frugal inventiveness is confidently explored by Piasecki to address the Gordian knot of emergent global economic, environmental and social challenges.

    In this most recent book, Piaseckiā€™s builds on his vision for social response capitalism as the pathway to profitable corporate sustainability as first presented in his book ā€œWorld, Inc.ā€ Readers will gain a deeper understanding of the mutually reciprocal benefits of empowering teams by supporting a culture of disciplined frugality and innovation.

    Piasecki urges readers to fully grasp the indisputable irrationality of projecting continued growth through consumption driven (and wasteful) mainstream economic models. His book offers a more optimistic future empowered by unleashing the self-organizing principle of frugal values that will be needed to profitably meet the needs of the worldā€™s current population of seven billion people.

    Demetria Giannisis
    Corporate Innovation and Sustainabilty Consultant

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