In so many ways, workplace productivity and efficiency boil down to finding greater simplicity in business, and most of us can agree that simplicity and administration are infrequent bedfellows.
Recently, I was listening to a Harvard Business Review podcast interview with Basecamp CEO Jason Fried in which he was advocating that businesses reduce administrative burdens so that employees can focus more on their work.
I couldn’t have agreed more.
Simplicity has always been at the core of our philosophy at Legacy Advantage. Now that’s easier to say than it is to achieve, so we’ve embraced the Results-Only Work Environment approach known as the ROWE system developed by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson. The basic logic is this: when, where and how you do your work is less important than what results from that work. Simple, right?
Simplicity in business starts by reframing the question and asking yourself not what you’re trying to track but what you’re trying to achieve. Our aim has been to eliminate as much administrative work as possible so that we can instead spend that time adding value for our bookkeeping clients.Ask yourself not what you’re trying to track but what you’re trying to achieve. Click To Tweet
Here are three easy ways you can achieve simplicity in business:
1. Have as few meetings as possible
When you think about it, meetings are expensive. If five of your employees participate in a one-hour meeting, that’s five productive hours gone. Truth be told, meetings (especially status update meetings) are usually a huge waste of time considering, as Fried points out, these updates could simply be summarized and sent out.
If you’re running meetings daily, weekly, or even monthly, take a step back and ask yourself this: What is the result I’m trying to achieve, and what is the result I’m actually achieving?
If the aim is to keep everyone in the loop, why is that important? Does person A working in Department X really need to know what person B in Department Y is doing? If yes, then do persons C and D need to be there? More importantly, can A update B in a more efficient way and still keep management in the loop? Bottom line, hold meetings sparingly and run them efficiently.
2. Stop tracking time and attendance
Companies spend a lot of resources tracking holidays, paid leave, unpaid leave, sick days, etc., but keeping track of whether or not someone is at their desk eight hours a day only proves that they were there. It doesn’t tell you how productive they were.
What if they could be more productive by working outside the normal 9-5 business hours? My senior manager comes to work at 11am. Crazy, right? Not really. He’s a night owl, so he works late because that’s when he’s most productive. Give your employees some flexibility and they may pleasantly surprise you.
The same goes for holidays. Tracking holidays is tedious, especially as your team grows. What if you let your employees decide when and how long they need for vacation? How much do the details matter if your employees are refreshed, at their best, and delivering quality results on time. If your fear is that employees will abuse this sort of policy, then you either have a corporate culture issue or they’re not the right employees.
3. Maximize your profits and efforts
Did you know: the majority of your profits come from a small number of customers and only a small percentage of your marketing efforts acquire the bulk of your new customers.
Now, when you have a great idea or a great product, you tend to want to tell everyone about it. You need spread the word wide and far by as many means as possible, right? Wrong.
What you need to do is maximize your productivity by identifying your best margins. Who are your top customers? What are your most effective marketing channels? You need to find your niche.
All of these ideas about maximizing efforts and profits feeds into the 80/20 principle which I’ve written about at length in a previous blog.
Once you’ve figured it out, trim the fat by eliminating underperforming and unnecessary products and services. By doing this, you can redirect your time, energy, and resources towards your top marketing activities and big ticket clients.
Finding greater simplicity in business ultimately maximizes both profits and productivity, makes your employees happier and frees up your valuable time.