Simplicity As a Business Strategy

  • Problem #1 – The Gee Whiz Company sees profits slipping. The call goes out for innovative, creative solutions. Rather than pausing to realign and reaffirm the company’s vision, goals or mission, managers propose more steps, whiplash changes, or faster action.

Solution – Adding something in the name of improvement isn’t always the answer. Remember the KISS axiom, about keeping it simple? Sometimes removing a step, simplifying a process or dialing back the pressure results in greater workflow and greater buy in. Your workforce recognizes and values common sense and revels when they realize that the executive suite values it too.

  • Problem #2 – The Do It Today organization was in a scramble to replace a valuable high level manager that was retiring. The group was stuck in the “How will we ever replace her?” mindset. They were quickly complicating the process by assuming they couldn’t find anyone to match up to the previous employee.

Solution – Instead of overloading the wish list for the new candidate, utilize tools and assessments to identify the skills and attributes of the outgoing manager, then look for those same attributes in potential hires. This helps remove the emotional aspect of the hiring process and streamline and clarify the requirements. Using a tool such as the Attribute Index, the organization was able to identify their top requirements and screen candidates against those. Doing so reduced the time table and identified talent within their network, allowing for a simplified transition.

In the heat of action, it’s not unusual for management to miss the overall picture. If the world’s top 200 companies fall prey to this, chances are you are struggling too.

When you are mired down in complicated processes, it’s difficult to find your way out. Someone outside the trenches can take an impartial look at the overall operation, workflow or process. Talking with employees in an unbiased environment will yield candid and useful input that can set people and processes back in alignment. Asking the question, “What can we subtract?” gives a new perspective when you are locked in the improvement mindset.