We tend to over-complicate things. We try to do to many things instead of focusing on a handful of essential priorities. So says Gordon Tredgold in his book, FAST – Principles every business needs to achieve success and drive results. He expounds four key precepts:
Focus, Accountability, Simplicity and Transparency.
The book has many stories, examples and useful tips. Here are his ten tips for improving simplicity in your business:
- Reevaluate. Distinguish between what is important and what is urgent. Try to eliminate anything which is not important.
- Prioritize. Choose your three most important tasks every day and concentrate on those.
- Cut distractions. Identify the tasks that distract you and your team from core priorities and find ways to automate, reduce or eliminate them.
- Use technology shortcuts. Apps are double-edged. Many social media sites will divert you so instead invest in apps which keep you on schedule and save time.
- Cost reduction vs work reduction. Many companies try to save money by doing the same number of things more cheaply. A better route is to cut out the low-value work all together.
- Hire strategically. Ronald Reagan was an effective leader because he surrounded himself with very smart people. Take time to build a team with great strengths and it will make your life easier.
- Focus on the 20%. Less can mean more. Typically 20% of work results in 80% of success. 20% of clients provide 80% of profits. 20% of employees bring in 80% of sales. Focus on the 20% that matters.
- Eliminate the middleman. Often (but not always) it is beneficial to bypass intermediaries and deal directly with your largest clients and suppliers. Get closer to the customer and cultivate fruitful relationships.
- Outsource and delegate. Outsource or delegate low-value activities. Keep your core activities simple, team-oriented and streamlined.
- Unplug. Clear the clutter. Cut your commute. Set boundaries. Establish a balance between work, family and fun.
Simplicity means clarity. Make your strategic goals short and easy to understand. Give everyone just two or three key objectives so that they can focus. The more complicated your business the more confusion you will get. Keep it simple and focus on the essential.