Craig was recently ‘chewing the fat’ on why it’s the easy, straightforward and simple stuff we sometimes forget and ignore.
When I think about a lot of things in life, it’s very easy to over-engineer, over-complicate or add complexity to what should be a straightforward approach… just like this sentence!
At Rambutan being straightforward is so important to us, it’s one of our values. We believe in saying what we mean and meaning what we say. No complex hidden meanings or political agendas… we just want to help people clearly understand what they can achieve and how we can support them. We often challenge each other with a question… “How can we make this even more straightforward?” Because we know when it’s simple and straightforward, it’s so much easier to understand.
It seems an obvious statement but if we take communication as an example, we know that to achieve the best results asking a straightforward, beautiful question is the way to go. In addition, when someone is asked a complicated, multi-faceted question this can cause confusion, disengagement and on occasion, something else being answered.
When I first started as a manager in retail we had an expression which was KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). KISS became a mantra in my stores for how we dealt with each other, how we helped our customers and how we achieved our outcomes. While I didn’t agree with the word ‘stupid’, the ‘keep it simple’ phrase became a way of life for us.
Keeping it simple does work
When working with a team to solve a problem how often do we stop, back-up and define the exam question we should be answering?
Companies have amazing missions, visions, values and strategies. Yet how often does the language used or the style we share them in, engage every single person in a straightforward and effective manner? How often do we truly consider the messaging through the eyes, ears, heart and mind of the recipient?
The greatest coaches are the ones who say very little and ask straightforward, easy to understand yet thought-provoking questions. It’s this type of approach that provokes real change in another person.
A team with a clear vision and each team member understanding the part they play in achieving that vision will be more effective and consistent.
As a drummer, when I was a lot younger, I used to believe that more drums and more complex rhythms created better music. Now, for me, the most straightforward, rhythmically-pleasing approach of ‘less is more’ creates awesome results.
When working at Rambutan and a client wants to share their vision, we help them focus on the consistent story that will engage every single person, so that they know the part they’re playing.
When facilitating a group to solve a complex issue or to make a decision, defining a crystal-clear, straightforward exam question is one of the key strategies to help people think clearly.
Some people hold a belief that to complicate a situation makes it more worthwhile. When we partner with our clients we believe the most appropriate way is to help them take a step back, pause for thought and seek clarity where once there was fog.
I work tirelessly to make sure my communication is crystal-clear and easy to understand. I’m only human though and I don’t get it right all the time. However, I notice that and I’m able to adapt and change.
I believe the key strategies to keeping it simple are:
• take a step back
• focus on the outcome that you want to achieve and not the task at hand
• put yourself in the other person’s shoes when communicating… what do they need to hear to help them fully understand what you’re saying?
• everything can seem consistently complex, so focus relentlessly on keeping it simple
• one step at a time… one moment at a time