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At the first signs of a downturn, up goes the cry “Cut Costs”. But how? By reducing people? By vacating markets? By thinking here and now and hell with the long term? Different organizations react differently to the challenge of cutting costs. What would be the worst way to cut costs-and the best?

Phil Dourado has this post in the Leaders in London Blog where he describes the achievements of an effective leader in cutting costs- the US Navy’s Capt. Mike Abrashoff. He involved his entire staff and got the best suggestions from the front liners- who know the job best. They were best placed, he said, to know how to do the job better and cheaper. Capt. Abrashoff turned around what was reckoned to be a poorly performing ship to become the best performing ship in the US Pacific Fleet.

Many organizations look almost exclusively at their top management teams for ideas for improving business. They forget that there is a huge amount of untapped talent in lower rungs of the organization which can give practical and implementable suggestions-if they are given the opportunity to participate and make their ideas known.

Capt. Abrashoff seems to have once again demonstrated that ideas are not the exclusive preserve of upper management. Indeed they can be found everywhere- provided you look for them.

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This is Post No: 343 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.