Keeping it simple

By September 10, 2018General Insights

Okay it probably wasn’t Einstein who said “Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.” But it is a pretty brainy saying and I kind of like the attribution to the crazy haired genius who glimpsed the absurd strangeness of reality in his voyages of the mathematical imagination.

Whether the quote is correctly attributed or not, it is a great motto for business leaders who want to keep a sense of purpose and progress about what really matters.
So how can we apply this?

First – The One page personal goals
Do you have personal goals? Great. Have you written them on a single page of paper in a place you are likely to see every day? No, well keeping it simple might mean boiling down all those hopes, dreams and aspirations to a few clear priorities in the long, medium and short term.

Second – The One page team sheet
Can you summarise the purpose, goals, key measures and vital standards for your team all on one page of A4? Have you done this? Does everyone in the team have a nice colour laminate of it? Perhaps you have blown it up to A0 for the office wall…

Third – Four themes for the current period
Themes are less specific than goals and can be applied across a whole range of work types and activities. A theme should last a while – you don’t go flipping the theme every month. I gave my team the themes of seeking to become; Direct, Global, Responsive and Accurate, and that was their theme for about two and a half years, guiding every process and decision with a few simple questions.

Four – The 90 second presentation
Can you sell your company’s key product or service in a minute and a half? Can your people describe the key purpose of their role and how it fits into the organisational strategy in about as much time as it takes Cristiano Ronaldo to put two extra time goals in the net, to secure a semi-final place?

Five – The One page KPI scoresheet
Can your whole business (and every team in it) display all of the key measures that count on a single dashboard interface?

Six – the One page Ops Plan
Do you show the key projects and areas of focus for your business for the quarter or the year on a single page?

These simple documents will help focus you and your team on what really counts. Everyone likes to see the score visually – whether it’s the scoreboard and clock at a sporting fixture, or the league table that each match contributes to, or a balance sheet and P&L. If its important it can be expressed in a page. And I have finished this one.

Simon Nash

Simon Nash

Simon Nash is an experienced leader, speaker and writer in the intersection of people and ideas at work.