Embedding the Simplicity Behaviours Into Your Company
INTRODUCTION In the last paper, we identified the six behaviours that great simplifiers consistently exhibit – focus, clarity, collaboration, courage, pragmatism and empowering. But, the simplicity behaviours will not become a reality in your organisation just by talking about them. These new behaviours need to be embedded into your organisation’s day-to-day thinking and actions. In […]
In the last paper, we identified the six behaviours that great simplifiers consistently exhibit – focus, clarity, collaboration, courage, pragmatism and empowering. But, the simplicity behaviours will not become a reality in your organisation just by talking about them. These new behaviours need to be embedded into your organisation’s day-to-day thinking and actions. In this final leading simplicity paper, we discuss some tangible ideas that will start the process of embedding these new behaviours into your organisation.
Help your team to understand the behavioural dimension of complexity and share the simplicity behaviours. Discuss how you can all start to live the simplicity behaviours day to day.
Priorities reset: By their own admission the majority of organisations/teams are trying to do too many things, and failing to deliver on the big opportunities as a result. With simplicity ‘less is more’. So take time out to reset your company/team’s list of priorities. What are the biggest opportunities? How much capacity do you have to deliver your new projects/initiatives? How much resource is needed to successfully deliver each major opportunity/project? Now put all your resources behind your biggest opportunities. Where you have projects with good returns, but no capacity, right now, simply put them ‘on hold’ until your top priority projects are done. Ruthlessly kill any projects that have low returns.
Challenge complexity or ‘stop’ days: Set aside a day to get the whole team thinking about simplicity and identifying opportunities to reduce complexity. Ask them to identify 3 things that could immediately be stopped, without causing any real harm to the business. Then decisively stop doing the things your team have recommended. Implement email and meeting free Fridays.
Simplicity awards scheme and spot prizes: Set up a recognition programme to reward teams and individuals who have successfully made something simpler. A pat on the back makes people feel 10 feet tall, but it also sends a strong signal to everyone else, that simplicity is really very important to you, not just another token initiative.
Communicate and inspire: Make sure your leadership team continues to talk about simplicity day to day. If you stop talking about simplicity people will assume it is no longer a priority. Once they see you are serious about complexity reduction, they quickly start helping you. Regularly communicate new simplicity ideas, share successes from other teams and remind them why simplicity will make their lives better.
Behaviour change is critical if you want to sustainably reduce complexity in your organisation; you can’t win unless you change your culture to embrace simplicity as a daily mind-set and way of working.
In any organisation your leaders are the most powerful force for behavioural change, so you must use them as the primary weapon in your battle against complexity.
Great leaders make things simple and keep things simple, so their people do not get lost or confused.
By using the 6 simplicity behaviours your leaders can bring simplicity to life as a daily value within their teams, and keep simplicity alive by challenging complexity wherever they see it.
This behavioural model needs to be strongly embedded into your leadership development and measurement programme so that simplicity does not become just another management fad or religion of the month. Simplicity must become a permanent feature of your organisation.
About the author: Melvin Jay is Founder and CEO of Simplicity Consulting. He has 30 years of commercial and consulting experience. The first 15 years of his working life were spent battling complexity in blue chip companies like Danone and Novartis. As a leading expert in simplicity he now works with the world’s biggest companies to help them reduce complexity. He spends all day everyday thinking about simplicity and helping his clients reduce complexity. He is passionate about the role that leadership plays in creating culture and changing mind-sets in large organisations, and regularly coaches senior executives on how to lead simplicity. He co-authored the bestselling and award winning book ‘From Complexity to Simplicity’ with Professor Simon Collinson.