In Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business published by Portfolio/Penguin Group (2010), Nancy Lublin explains how to “barter with zero” to produce more “with everything you’ve got” by asking smarter questions. Try it. Ask yourself these five of the 11 she poses on Pages 211-212:
1. Do you have excess inventory? Instead of marketing it down or warehousing it, is there someone out there who might need it for some other purpose?
2. Do you have extra space you are not using?
3. Are your people ever idle [and/or bored]? What skills do they have that might be leveraged [in new ways]?
4. Are there companies nearby – even if they make baked goods and you’re an accounting firm – that you ought to talk to? Just sharing corporate pain points in casual conversation could lead to something.
5. Have you ever reached beyond your neighbors? Have you asked questions of your social networks, like Linkedin? (Nobody is going to answer your quest for partnership [and/or collaboration] unless you ask.)
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My Take: Most of us have little (if any) idea of the nature and extent of “stuff” that has been accumulated at work and at home. Companies as well as individuals should “travel light.” I agree with Lublin, however: Before eliminating stuff, try to find a way to trade it or at least find a new home for it.
Zilch is a brilliant achievement. I also highly recommend:
Rework, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality, Scott Belsky
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, Chip Heath and Dan Heath
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, Laura Vanderkam