“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers” – Gen Colin Powell
My husband and I are finishing two construction projects. In the process, we've been digging through boxes we've had in storage to determine which items will work in the new facilities and which won't. In addition to comments of, "Why did we save this?" and "Huh, I'd forgotten we even had this," I've noticed we're asking ourselves things such as:
- How will this fit in and help us achieve the look and feel we're trying to achieve?
- If we include this, will it create more work for us or less?
- If we include this, will we really use it or will it just sit and take up space in a different location?
As we've reassessed the realities of using and not using various items, furniture has been moved into the new facilities or given away, the quantity of items waiting to be used someday has dwindled, and many items we once used frequently have been honed down by at least half. Needless to say, there's a lightness to not having all that "stuff" sitting around, taking up space, requiring maintenance and cleaning anymore. We feel somewhat reenergized by this new "simplicity."
So, how can you as a business owner or leader use this move towards simplicity to help your organization move forward? Ask your employees to help you identify ways to "clean house" and simplify your business. Ask things such as:
- How will this (e.g., new process, product or service) help us achieve our vision?
- Why do we still do this process this way after all these years? Isn't there an easier way?
- If we continue to use this process, are we doing what we've always done or are we getting better on a regular basis now?
- If we include this new process, will it create more work for us or less? Will it require only one person to "touch" it or are we creating a cumbersome process that requires many people to monitor and manage it?
- Why do we still produce this product or provide this service? Are we certain our customers are not going to need something new or different in the future?
- Is there a way to upgrade equipment to consolidate capabilities and eliminate unused or barely used equipment?
- What process makes us groan when we anticipate starting it? How can we simplify it?
What can we do to re-energize ourselves and move forward? What can we do to clean house and simplify the business?