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Simplify for Success

In today's fast-paced business landscape, leaders, CEOs, and managers often find themselves overwhelmed by the complexity of their roles. The key to achieving success in leadership lies in simplification. By streamlining processes, focusing on essential tasks, and fostering a culture of clarity, leaders can pave the way for their organizations to thrive.

As a Growth Coach, one of biggest challenges I see is many CEO's and leaders trying to navigate organizational complexity instead of addressing it. The result? The 24 hours we all have each day never seems enough to keep the business running and leverage further growth. The results can be increased stress, role and responsibility confusion, misplaced demands on staff, micromanaging, and/or lack of accountability. What separates those who successfully navigate complexity from who continue to suffer? Simplification!

I've always seemed to have a focus on getting things done, call it an action focus which included cutting through chaos which always seems confusing and inefficient. So it made sense when I was getting certified by the WHY Institute that "simplify" surfaced as my 'why'! This was one of those moments which confirmed what I already knew about myself yet didn't realize only 5.5% of people have this as their 'why'. As the WHY Institute explains it:

"You believe in making things simple so they are useful and understandable. You have a unique gift of reducing the number of steps required for almost any task. You constantly look for ways of simplifying. For you, life is better when it’s simple and uncluttered. If you can simplify something and help the world, you will."

Of course many of you likely have a different 'why' than 'simplify' which makes you passionate, confident and purpose driven in other ways. What can we learn from developing a mindset and approach to leverage simplifying?

What does this graphic from 5 Ways to Simplify Your Employee Experience indicate?

Further, they found that,

"those where people easily get their work done and feel productive doing so - behave in a unique way. Employees working in this environment go the extra mile. They advocate on behalf of their company, innovate more, and have higher retention rates."

Here are some valuable strategies for simplifying for success:

1. Prioritize Ruthlessly:

Successful leaders understand that not all tasks are created equal. To simplify your role, identify and prioritize the most critical tasks that align with your organization's goals. Delegate or eliminate less important tasks to free up time for strategic decision-making. Simplicity leaders are relentlessly focused on the big stuff and question everything else. In Simply Effective, Ron Ashkenas highlights “cognitive overload: too many choices and too little direction” which continues to get worse as the amount of business information grows exponentially every day.

2. Clear Communication:

Effective communication is the cornerstone of simplification. Ensure that your messages are clear, concise, and consistent. It's like a central nervous systems that allows work to get done. Encourage open dialogue within your team to minimize misunderstandings and streamline decision-making. In The Power of Simplicity: Avoiding Workplace Complications, author Abby Miller states that to communicate concisely, "say anything you want to say on a bumper sticker".

3. Embrace Technology:

Leverage technology to automate routine tasks and improve efficiency. Implementing the right software solutions can help streamline processes, reduce errors, and provide real-time insights for better decision-making. AI tools have allowed SME businesses that have fewer resources than big businesses to accomplish more in less time, according to Sonu Yadav in his Entrapreneur article detailing helpful steps.

4. Delegate Wisely:

Delegation is a crucial skill for leaders. Trust your team to handle tasks within their expertise, and empower them to make decisions. Delegating not only lightens your workload but also fosters employee growth and engagement

5. Streamline Meetings:

Meetings can be a significant time drain, with some estimating up to 50% of valuable time wasted. Simplify your meeting schedule by setting clear objectives, limiting attendance to essential participants, and ensuring meetings are productive and time-efficient. Have clear, agreed action items and review for understanding at the meeting end.

6. Measure What Matters:

Focus on key performance indicators (KPIs) that directly impact your organization's success. Avoid drowning in data and metrics that don't provide actionable insights. Simplify your reporting to focus on what drives results.

As you embrace the benefits of simplification as a mindset and approach, remember,

“Don’t let the weeds grow back.”

This is something managers need to develop as a core leadership capability according to Lisa Bodell in Seven Strategies for Simplifying Your Organization.

In conclusion, simplifying for success is a vital skill for leaders, CEOs, and managers. By prioritizing tasks, fostering clear communication, embracing technology, streamlining meetings and measuring what matters, you can lead your business toward greater success. Remember that simplicity does not mean sacrificing effectiveness; it means focusing on what truly matters and eliminating unnecessary complexity. Start simplifying today, and watch your leadership and business thrive.

Jerome Dickey, MA, PCC, CPHR, Q.Med


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