Any idiot can create something complex. It takes a real genius to make that “something” simple!
This is constant – as your business grows, it will NATURALLY tend to become more complex. By teaching everyone in the company how to ACTIVELY combat complexity, your company will grow faster and stronger. Here are three tools to stay “simply” on track.
1. Simple Language:
• Create a “Company Dictionary” – Define your top ten most-used terms, document them and be fanatic about using them. For example, what do you call a customer? A client, a partner or a user? Decide, then make it stick! Some clients even name their processes with catchy phrases to make them easier and fun to remember. These phrases are a shortcut to better understanding. One of my favorites: “It’s time for that client to get the ‘EGG BEATER!”’ (I’ll let you guess what that is!)
• Use pictures – If you are struggling to understand each other, draw! Use that whiteboard and draw pictures for each other and customers. Creating visuals is a simple way to communicate even a complex concept.
• Drop the fancy or political language – How would this be explained to Grandma? Silly, but getting people to speak and write in simple language supports better understanding.
• Use a time limit – For example, ask, “In 30 seconds or less, tell me what the issue is.” Another variation of this is to say, “Describe that in 10 words or less.” Using these two phrases will get to the SIMPLE outcome – faster.
2. Simple Processes:
• The 1-hour rule – To break a pattern of complexity, grab a piece of blank paper and try this. Imagine that you had only one hour to train someone how to do a job/process. How would you spend your time? What are the CRITICAL things they would need to know? Make a list of what you’d teach in an hour that would get them to the BEST possible outcome. From that data, create a bullet list of topics or information that you’d teach. You now have the most simple process document for the job/process. (See the 3 Step Process Documenter Tool in the EOS Toolbox for how to document it formally).
• What will we NOT do? – Add this question to your leadership toolbox. “If we do THIS, what will we NOT do?” Whenever you add to or tweak a process, ask yourself if you can take anything OUT of the process. When we only ADD to the processes, the complexity sneaks up on us, week by week.
3. Simple Delegation:
• The Priority List – Give your direct reports a general priority list. For example:
- Current clients
- New clients
- Internal operations
With a priority list, your team can prioritize almost any task that crosses their desk, and attend to it with the correct amount of focus and urgency.
• The Decision Tree – I’ve seen a few forms of this, but the one I like best delegates authority according to the amount the decision will cost the company. For example “Keeping our Core Values in mind, do what you need to do to make the customer happy. Any decision that costs the company less than $100 and solves the problem, do it.” As the employee matures professionally, give her a higher limit of decision making authority.
Here’s a simple way to create EXPONENTIAL PRODUCTIVITY in your company: (Warning! Here comes the shameless plug for my new book!) Buy my new book Earn It! and hand it to your employees! It will teach them to produce more measurable value BEFORE asking for a raise. Plus, it’s designed to have THEM do the work (via simple tools and exercises I teach them) of learning to be the STAR PRODUCER you need to move your company forward, forever!