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Last century’s Mission Statement has evolved into today’s Simplicity Vision Statement. Instead of a buzzword-driven paragraph, the Vision Statement helps you articulate why simplification is important to your company and how it will help you achieve your strategic goals.
Using this exercise, a major American power company realized that a lack of decision-making was over-complicating things internally. They were then able to designate the right decision-makers, reduce the number of sign-offs, and speed up a bunch of internal processes.
To get this kind of clarity for your business, try the following technique to create your own Simplicity Vision Statement. Individually or as a group, start by drawing a line down the center of a sheet of paper or a whiteboard, dividing it into two columns.
On the left side, you’ll capture rough answers to a series of questions about simplification. Then later, on the right side, you’ll polish your notes into strong and specific statements. Let’s start off by reviewing the visioning questions.
- Why is simplification important to our organization?
- Which three things, when simplified, will have the greatest impact on our jobs or business?
- In what ways could we experience more workplace simplicity every day?
- If we simplify how we work, what will the financial, behavioral, or efficiency outcomes be?
- How will we know when our work/business unit/function is simplified?
- What new simplification skills will we use on a daily basis?
- A year from now, how did we make simplification a habit?
- Looking back, what was our biggest barrier to simplification?
- In one sentence, what does simplicity mean to us?
- What will simplification help us achieve — both personally and professionally?
- If we hadn’t made simplification a habit, what would have happened?
Since you’ll polishing rough notes from the left column into polished statements for the right column, let’s take this approach to Question #11 above.
For this one, it helps to shift into a mindset of the future. How will the one-year or five-year plan for your company be impacted if people don’t simplify now? Will you lose personnel? Will your products continue to miss their launch late? Will your clients go elsewhere?
Brainstorm as many missed opportunities as you can that could result from settling for business as usual. Once you’ve listed those, move on to polishing each one into a compelling statement.
For example, if you believe that losing personnel is a likely result of not simplifying — a recent Deloitte study actually points to this side effect — expand those notes into a statement. Turn the phrase “we’ll lose personnel” into something more specific like “we’ll lose key talent to our competition.”
Likewise, if you mentioned products that are always late to market, expand that into an explicit statement like “we’ll lose millions on the two innovations in our pipeline because we didn’t reach early adopters.”
If you cited “clients will go elsewhere,” quantify your statement in more concrete terms, such as “our three biggest accounts will move their money to a more nimble competitor.”
By envisioning the effects of not simplifying along with the rewards for getting rid of complexity, you’re much better equipped for success. The Simplicity Vision Statement is designed to align your org on what’s possible — and what to change now in order to achieve that vision in the future.
January 28, 2019 at 10:30PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs