Succeeding with Less

Why do some succeed with so little, while others fail with so much?

Scott Sonenshein, author of the book, Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less and Achieve More than You Ever Imagined, thinks it happens because we get caught up in a mindset of chasing. A Professor of Management at Rice University, Scott is also a strategy consultant for organizations in healthcare, education, manufacturing, and technology.

Drawing on research from psychology and management, Scott makes a case for doing more with less, what he calls stretching with what you have — and it is a far cry from being cheap or refusing ever to spend.

In this interview, we talk about:

  • How waiting for the perfect tool gives us an excuse to delay working on our goals
  • Why chasing after resources can cause us to get caught up in destructive comparisons
  • Looking beyond the conventional uses for a particular resource and why that matters
  • How reflecting on scarcity can help us get more out of the resources we already have
  • How a mindset and culture of ownership lets us solve problems more creatively
  • How stretching with the resources we have is a skill we can teach and learn
  • How a culture of belief in people to solve problems creatively makes all the difference
  • Why stretching is a far cry from being cheap and more about being frugal
  • Why more expertise, knowledge, and practice does not equal greater problem solving
  • How we approach problems more narrowly when we look only for expertise
  • How and why outsiders bring a fresh perspective to problem solving
  • Ways we can cultivate an outsider perspective in ourselves
  • How, when we overplan, we count on a world that may or may not exist
  • Why, in turbulent environments, successful organizations are both fast and accurate
  • The power of running lots of small experiments to learn
  • How we can leap without looking by doing and gathering data without learning from it
  • How sticking to our plans at any cost can work against our own best interests
  • The creativity the comes from unthinkable combinations
  • How stretching makes a difference in how we live our lives

Links to Topics Mentioned in this Podcast


Not Impossible by Mick Ebeling

Ron Johnson

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