I’ve talked before about the three pillars to a stress-free success in business, Leadership, Effectiveness and Self-care. There is a common thread that can be applied to all three pillars – simplicity.
Keeping everything as simple as possible has a kind of beauty to it. I read a quote once, that I cannot attribute from memory:
a system should be only as complex as it needs to be to get the job done, and no more.
Why is simplicity so difficult?
It may seem contradictory but keeping things simple can be quite difficult to start with. Let’s look at the systems you have in place. Many will have been built up over the years, they are likely to be more complex than they need to be.
The original purpose of any system may have been lost in the depths of time. Lots of additional steps to cater to the needs of other individuals or departments may have been bolted on. Some of these needs were transient, but the system still caters for them.
Rules change over time. Customer requirements change, funded organisations have different criteria to meet. There are often unforeseen consequences of any change in requirements, or the system catering to them. The people involved in the systems also change, either moving on or developing new attitudes or skills.
It’s easy to see how systems become more complex than they need to be. It’s even worse when multiple systems need to work together!
How to simplify
The answer is both simple and powerful. When developing any system, or working method, keep asking why.
• Why are we doing this?
• Why are we producing this output?
• Why does the person asking for the output need it?
• Why is each of the steps necessary?
Keep drilling down into the ‘Why’ of the system. This kind of questioning will get to the absolute why. It gets past the easy answers.
Lesson from the Kids
Remember the way kids keep asking why? They ask because they don’t yet have enough information to make the assumptions that you and I find all too easy. Asking why often enough helps us get past our assumptions and really simplify what we are spending our time, energy or money on.
You can apply simplicity to all the elements of the three pillars of stress-free success. You will discover a powerful ally in simplicity when you book a free chat.