Have you ever tried to dig a hole with your bare hands? You can do it, but it is slow. Grab a shovel and suddenly you can dig faster and deeper. Rent a backhoe and you can dig out a swimming pool in a matter of hours. The shovel and backhoe are examples of force multipliers. A force multiplier allows someone to accomplish a task with dramatically greater effectiveness, in this case digging a hole.
The term force multiplier has its roots in the military, but I believe the concept is applicable and relevant to business as well. Opportunities for force multiplication surround entrepreneurs, but they often aren’t thought of in that way. Things like training, recruitment, community, partnerships and even branding are all potential force multipliers.
Technology… The Low Hanging Fruit
Technology is the first place I would look for force multiplication in any business, because many technologies can simply be purchased. You can apply technology to most aspects of business, but the one that is most often ignored is the one sitting in front of you on your desk.
Many of us spend the majority of our day in front of our computers. We develop a deep dependence on them to accomplish our work. When they are slow we are slow. When they crash we crash. Yet businesses are often ridiculously slow to update computers because of the expense involved. New technology isn’t an expense… it is an advantage.
I recently saw an employee use a computer that had a 5.5″ inch floppy drive at a Budget Rental Car office. WTF! What decade are we in?
- How much faster could that person process me if they were on a faster computer?
- How many more customers could they process per day?
- How much happier would I be as a customer?
- How much more money would I ultimately spend?
Employees that run computationally intensive applications should have their computers updated once every 1-3 years. Standard office app and web users should be updated 3-5 years. The investment will pay for itself in efficiency as well as providing an additional boost to morale… it is two force multipliers for the price of one!
While you are at it don’t skimp on monitors. The productivity gain you will get from a larger monitor will pay for itself.
Photo Credit Tracer.ca