Rains: The Power of Simplicity
What if you could bypass most of the steps in your current project or goal? What if that process you’re working on only needed three steps instead of eight? What if you could get the same result in 1/10th of the time and effort?
I was coaching a leader this week on achieving his goals. He was getting “lost in the sauce” as cooks say. He was making things much harder than they needed to be. What he needed was some sales momentum. We started talking about all the things that he might do to get that. We talked about social media ads. We explored online reviews. We discussed referral strategies. Somehow we started to drift into finances. We began discussing a weekly financial snapshot. We talked about simplifying his financial reporting and how it could be more visual.
Then it hit me! Wait, we’ve drifted here. We intended to talk about sales momentum. Now we’re into finances. Also, the sales ideas we came up with were time-consuming and somewhat complicated. So I asked him, “What is the one thing you can do today that would help you to land more jobs? Think about something that wouldn’t cost you anything and you could do in 10 minutes a day, every day?” That was a tall order in my mind to check all those boxes. But he immediately said, “I could call the last three people who I wrote estimates for.” Boom! That was it. That cut out all the clutter, all the wasted steps, all the complications. Just pick up the phone and call potential customers who have already asked for an estimate. I followed up with him the next day. He landed one out of the three and was committed to doing it again. And again. From a business standpoint, If he gets just one more job a day it will revolutionize his profits.
A lot of shop owners are familiar with the concept of “working lean.” One of the most foundational concepts in “lean” is eliminating waste. Most processes we engage in on a daily basis are littered with unnecessary, oftentimes complicated steps. Those extra steps are a prime example of waste. If your goal is “x” then do you really need to do “a,b, c, d”, all the way to x? Or can you somehow go from “a to x” in one grand step? Sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes there need to be three, four or more steps to do something right. However, my goal with my coaching clients is to make things as simple and easy as possible while getting the results they want.
To some, this might sound lazy. It might sound like I want to skip to the good parts as quickly and easily as possible! (I do!) Others might say I’m advocating for impatience. Like I don’t want to waste a lot of time! (I don’t!) Here’s the thing: processes and projects have what my contractor calls “scope creep”: the scope of complexity, time, and money required tends to grow over time. It actually takes a lot of effort and discipline to keep things as simple as possible.
My friend Greg used to tell me I was the “Chief Intuitive Leaper” of my shops. It was a made-up title, of course. But he was trying to communicate that I could often find a way to leap to the last step and get the same or 80 percent of the result without following all the steps in between, saving loads of time, effort, and even money. It took me a while to unpack all that it meant but now I see that title as a badge of honor. I’m proud that I can often help shops get the results they need faster, with less waste and less expense.
So, what are you working on that could be trimmed, simplified, and cleaned up? There is great power in simplicity.