Distill. Simplify. Refine. Condense. Reduce. Shrink. Edit. Summarize. Purify. Shorten. Abbreviate. Crystalize.
These are all words which suggest reducing something to its simplest form. I’m sure you can think of others. Pick whichever one you like and post it on your wall. Then, find a way to reduce, refine, simplify (you get the picture) your efforts and processes to their very simplest form. Cut away any and all extraneous activity.
This newsletter was inspired while I was at Shark Fitness Training Boot Camp yesterday morning, probably because the same topic has been the focus at a client over the last several weeks. As I worked through morning boot camp, I heard the same message. Keep it simple, keep it effective. We don’t do anything fancy. It’s basic stuff. Push-ups, sit-ups, sprints, chest presses, squats, the list goes on. All exercises (think of these as processes) that have been around for ages. Simple, but done to the best of your ability, very effective.
Compare this to work place processes. Too often I see processes that are ineffective. There are 17 steps when 2 would suffice (I’m exaggerating, but just a bit). Steps have been added to address issues or individual behaviors and the number of steps has added up over the years. Processes are overly complicated. The activity level is high while the output is low. That’s a bad trade-off. It’s ineffective. If it’s been a while since you took a hard look at your work place processes, I suggest you put it at the top of your priority list.
But don’t limit this way of thinking to processes. What about strategy? Or how you add value to your clients or customers? When I started providing fractional CFO services I had reduced my business plan to three characters on an index card. There was much more behind the scenes but this simple concept was the essence of how I would execute.
Every business needs crystal clear thinking and processes in order to be able to communicate its value to the marketplace and be effective in its execution. People used to talk about having a “30 second elevator speech” so that you can tell others about yourself or your company. But in a world where communication has gone from the formal business memo to emails to texts and tweets, 30 seconds feels like an eternity. I’m no futurist, but I certainly don’t see it going back the other way any time soon. Rather the breakneck pace of business will most likely continue to accelerate.
By simplifying your business to its necessary core components and finding ways to eliminate or outsource those that are not central to your mission or value proposition, you free yourself for these more important and productive pursuits.
As I close this newsletter, let me end with two words, the name I have used on this newsletter for the past year, itself an example of distilling a concept to its simplest form. Finance Matters
If your business could benefit from fractional CFO services, I would welcome the chance to speak with you. Please give me a call at (314) 863-6637 or send an email to [email protected] The archive of these monthly newsletters is posted at the Resources section of homza.com
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