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The only reliable long-term way to motivate teams to control costs is to show them how much better things will be if they do so.  Better for them, better for others in the organisation, better for those the organisation seeks to help (clients or customers), better for shareholders, and better for the community as a whole. Fail to motivate positively - and all that is left as a tool is fear.

When people are highly motivated to save money for a good cause, they usually succeed in doing so and may be far more successful than you dared to hope.

Over 100,000 views of this video

Too often the discipline of cost-cutting is seen as a negative, heart-less, destructive activity driven more by greed than any sense of higher purpose.  Jobs are culled, livelihoods destroyed, departments trashed, loyal workers dumped – apparently without a thought except of making (more) money.

However, cost cutting can be the most caring thing a person can do.  The true nature of cost-cutting is prudency:  making every hour and dollar count.  Spending time, energy and finance only on things that make a difference, give greatest value, and are most worthwhile.

Jobs that are not central to fulfilling the mission may be lost, but if those people land up in other jobs where they are able to make an important contribution, that is much more positive than continuing in roles which make little difference to anyone.

Cost-control is therefore a moral issue, since the opposite leads to reckless extravagance, wasted resources, and irresponsible destruction of other people’s wealth.

Adapted from Building a Better Business - book by Patrick Dixon.

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