Being a New Yorker, I've talked recently with many in job turmoil, from industries like media, advertising, banking and the arts. Nearly everyone who escapes layoffs acknowledges their fortune -- though they also confess duress, as they're expected to do more with less.
Doing more with less? There's a short-term flaw in how many organizations and workers adapt. Too often they try to maintain the status quo -- including the type and quantity of output -- with fewer resources.
While efficiencies can be achieved by working harder, you can only stretch so much. It's more important to be smart and focus on the right things. And the right things today may be different than what was right in the past. This often means you must adapt your product and output, or even reinvent it.
Consider a squirrel whose forest has turned into a dense suburb. That squirrel can probably maintain its regular supply of nuts by searching harder amidst fewer trees -- for a limited time.
However, a smart squirrel will acknowledge its new human surroundings and discover more and even better nuts and other snacks in other places, like trash cans, under picnic tables and from curious squirrel-loving humans who feed them.
Of course, this idea is not new. But people don't seem to get this concept like they should. And they should get it, now more than ever.