How About Less Horsepower

horsepower may be counterproductive
Just adding horsepower may only make a flawed design go faster. From Marshall Astor’s Flickr photostream.

Depending on how you have grown up, you may have learned that bigger is better. It’s a very American mindset, and for many Texans (I am a resident), even bigger.

If we need to go faster, we add horsepower. It has a way of overcoming seeming obstacles. And it’s easy to translate this to business problems.

Add headcount if you can’t meet customer needs.

Build a bigger warehouse or store front.

Throw dollars at advertising.

These can be forms of adding horsepower without getting much of a return on investment. It’s easier to do than trying to get to the root issues. Learning what can be taken away rather than added is an opposite mindset that focuses on efficiency and form. You get to see what is causing an issue and build with intentionality and design that is lean. It prevents cheating with horsepower which can mask the underlying pains.

The instinct to simply do more is pretty common and alluring. But if you are faced with a problem that seems chronic, how about stopping, analyzing and thinking about less?

Going smaller could end up making you happier, healthier and able to do great things. It does take more thought and often a bit more courage. You’ll be smarter and better prepared in the long run for it though.

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