Achieving one task perfectly is better than pursuing ten tasks passably. This is often the hallmark of professional life, where our efforts in one direction will often bleed into the rest of our decision-making for some time to come.
For example – if you fail to onboard a new staff member correctly and supply them with inadequate training, this will ultimately lead them to work less productively, limiting the potential of your brand.
This means that simplifying your business is not an exercise of corporate self-harm, but wisdom in cutting concerns that won’t matter, or are superfluous to the goals you’re trying to achieve.
To use another example – it’s often better to enjoy sharp, simple branded messaging than to achieve the most ironic, self-referential, innovative, and “cool” advertising promotion in the hopes you’ll stick out, all of which can only take away from the core strength and perceived reliability of your brand.
Learning to simplify your brand, its output, and planning, can take some time. It’s hard to know where you should focus your attention first, or how to prevent “simplifying” turning into “dumbing down.”
In this post, we’ll discuss how to walk that balance, and the benefits you’ll find when you do:
Limiting Bureaucracy In Decision-Making
The common trope of a departmental decision having to move through twenty people as they give their red stamp of approval did not come to prominence in a vacuum. In many organizations, this is exactly what it’s like.
That’s why it’s good to give more people autonomy to properly authenticate certain decisions, especially as it relates to their own department. As long as record-keeping is key and communication channels are properly used, you can make certain that those under you have a sense of autonomy within the guidelines you’ve presented.
It may seem as though this lessens accountability or opens the door for mistakes, but you’d be surprised. You don’t have to be vague about how decisions are made under the system, and as long as you’re clear about the objectives of your firm and review decisions where possible, that level of oversight you’re looking for can be implemented seamlessly and smoothly, instead of laboriously.
Embrace Automation Where Possible
Automation-at-all-costs is not necessarily an ideal outcome, but you can be certain that automating repetitive tasks that require the same input will be healthy, and save you time.
This can be as simple as email automation reminders for staff who may need to book meetings with you but haven’t yet, to a scannable system updating your inventory stock records as new products come in, to using AI chatbots to better direct your customers towards the support department they need (or in using your FAQ section to nullify their need for outreach immediately).
In some cases, you can even automate plans that matter to you, for instance, utilizing marketing automation can be genuinely helpful when developing leads or trying to retain them again, from automated discounts for returning clients, to tracking your customer journeys for a full and incisive report on how to better complete that customer relationship.
Using Effective Management Tools
How you use your time is just as important as anything else, as working smarter and not harder through better organization is always a pursuit worth engaging in. For instance, using an all-in-one customer and project management suite like BuildOps is essential, especially for such complex planning tasks like those you’ll see in the construction industry.
Customer relationship management, invoice planning, task delegation and tracking, inventory and order forms, depending on the suite you go for, scaleable and modular options may be available to you. This will allow you to avoid tracking tasks over three different software packages and paper forms, here everything is unified.
This can also open up working schedules, such as by helping remote professionals more adequately log on and engage in more workplace tasks than usual. Effective management tools of this nature help simplify without skipping out on the detail. Instead, they offer a direct solution for your best staff to invest their skills without artificial obstructions in any manner.
Streamline Your Goal-Setting & Performance Reviews
Key performance indicators are vital targets for any business to consider. They help you see if you’ve been oriented in the right direction, they help you identify what the major problems have been, and from there, you can chart progress over the course of the year and see the effects of major decisions.
As such, simplifying your goal-setting, the metrics of success, and performance can be a big deal. Focus on three major and three minor markers of success. Plan out regular times where you can review progress towards these outcomes, and make sure they’re fit for each department, branching for suitability where appropriate.
Of course, pursuing KPIs such as these will often mean reviewing the staff focused on those goals. That’s why scheduling semi-regularly performance reviews can be helpful too, if only to become aware of real issues faced by your employees and better address them where appropriate. This way, you can also ensure staff satisfaction, and make certain they feel engaged and able to understand your workplace goals.
When you streamline this process and make it dependable, you can prevent staff management or departmental orientation measures from running away from you, biting you when you least expect it, and causing you to “fix” issues as opposed to preventing them.
Outsourcing Where Necessary
Outsourcing where necessary is a good way to patch the holes in your professional capabilities – after all, it’s only the largest firms that can have an in-house professional on hand to cultivate every single task that could possibly ever need completing.
A good outsourcing effort will not only empower your staff, but help you simplify your productivity management. This might be as simple as working with freelance graphic designers or content writers to fill out your blog, paying them as is appropriate and benefiting as a result.
Or perhaps your medium-sized firm requires better lead generation online, and so using an SEO agency to better cultivate your online presence can help you offset all of the best practices elsewhere. Sometimes, simplifying your business and what it has to offer means understanding that which remains outside your grasp, and not being afraid to seek better consultation or services to help you.
Keep Documentation Simple & Easy To Read
Unified documentation is essential, not only because it remains readable, but is also easier to fill out on behalf of your managers, or sign off on where appropriate. This may mean having constantly open but secure cloud storage folders filled with every templated document your staff could ever need, as that helps accessibility even for remote workers.
On top of this, you may use formats that integrate well with your management suites, such as allowing certain data to be pulled from documents and filled into your record-keeping sheets. With a custom seal of approval, you can ensure documents are serialized and verified within your own system, too.
The last thing any company should hope to curate is document bloat. There’s nothing more time-wasting, frustrating to deal with, and ultimately poorly reflective on your brand than bad or outdated documents. When you fix this issue, record-keeping is a simple process, and you can better communicate your processes.
Even something as simple as using online tools such as DocuSign can allow you to work with outsourced or freelance workers and ensure they abide by the terms of the contract from then on.
Effective Onboarding Is Simple
Finally, it’s important to talk about onboarding, and how relevant it remains. Effective onboarding is more than just giving a new staff member a seat and telling them to ask questions where appropriate. Instead, it’s essential to lay out your processes well, using a uniform suite where they can go through everything they need to feel familiar.
A training slideshow or outsourced e-learning platform (such as those that help staff members learn about your cybersecurity best practices) can be ideal. On top of that, using a mentoring system where a particular trained individual has to offer their best practice advice to the new hire can give them a simple, understandable point of contact.
With good documentation helping this staff member raise any issues, confusion or questions can help you clear up any issues before they commit to their role from then on. Much has been written about how to onboard people well, from month-long training retreats to a hands-off approach. To put it simply, and to operate with simplicity, you just need to be consistent and patient, using singular points of authority to help train your new hires.
If you can do that, then you can limit the confusion or mistakes an onboarding staff member will make, while also ensuring this doesn’t take up too many resources from your already-busy team.
With this advice, you’re sure to simplify your business in more ways than one. Of course, you can pick and choose the responsibilities to work on here, and in some cases, you may be functioning optimally already. We hope this advice can serve as a supplemental benefit, helping you grow your organization in the best, most streamlined way.