Making a SHIFT Starts with Simplicity
There has never been a time where we’ve had to shift so much, so quickly. It seems we’re constantly being asked to shift how we work, operate our businesses and even our perspectives. While all this shifting can give you vertigo, it doesn’t need to. Making a SHIFT starts with simplicity.
SHIFT is at the foundation of how I operate – both professionally and personally. I help people and organizations shift by following this simple process.
S – Simplicity
H – Holistic
I – Integrated
F – Focused
T – Transformative
Let’s zoom in on how simplicity is the first step in making or adapting to a shift.
Break it down
It can be easy to get overwhelmed by change. But when we break it into bite size pieces, it becomes more manageable and we’re able to track our progress.
Look at this change like taking a road trip. You know you are starting in Vancouver and want to end up in New York City. If you focus on the fact that it’s 4,800 kms or 2,982 miles with an international border in-between, it may be hard to know where to start.
Start by asking some foundational questions. How long do you have for this road trip? What’s your budget? Who’s going with you? When do you want to start and end?
Based on your schedule, is it feasible to drive or do you need to look at another way of getting there? If you’re driving, what are the stops you want to make along the way? Once you get to NYC, where will you stay?
The answers to your foundational questions – time, budget, team members – will help you decide the best approach and break down the task into key milestones. And like any road trip, you also need to give yourself permission to veer off course, while making sure you don’t lose your way.
Simplicity is only achieved when you have synergy within your team.
Imagine spending all your time plotting your road trip, then waiting to share your plans with your travel companions on the morning of the trip. If you’ve ever travelled with friends or family, I’m sure you know how this approach would work. There would be confusion (why are we doing this), anger (why wasn’t I consulted), disengagement (no one ever cares about my input) and abandonment (this will never work, so I’m staying home).
Now what would be the buy-in and what synergy could you create by working with your team from the beginning? This may be coming up with the idea (where do we want to go) or mapping out the route (we need to go to NYC, let’s plot out the journey together).
When you tap into the ideas, expertise and passion of others, your journey will not only be smoother, but a lot more enjoyable and interesting. The unique perspective each team member brings, can save time, money and stress.
Back to our road trip planning, turns out Mary has a cousin in Washington and John has a friend who lives in North Dakota. By staying with them, you’re able to break up the trip and save some money. Oh, and Carol has a friend who works for a hotel chain and can get the friends and family rates on hotel bookings. Sweet!
We’ve all heard the saying Keep It Simple Stupid, yet how often do we stick to this practical advice? Too often we get dragged down in the what ifs, we can’ts and other artificial barriers.
When I’m working with organizations, I find history (we’ve always done it this way), lack of innovation (we have no time for creativity) and closed mindsets (that’s not in a job description), overcomplicate the situation.
Often, we add steps that aren’t necessary or have little impact on the final product. I’ve also seen the final product being so complicated that it never gets fully implemented.
For example, right now I’m working on a conducting a communications audit for an organization. This includes interviews with key stakeholders, survey of staff, and reviewing communications processes and deliverables. While the rolling up the sleeves portion of the audit has a number of steps, the final outcome will be very simple.
My client will receive a four-page report summarizing our approach (briefly), key findings and prioritized next steps.
While I could easily create a 30–50-page report, expanding on the process and providing great detail on the recommendations, I know it would be skimmed and become yet another report that no one wants to read.
But by keeping it simple, with graphics and clear next steps, it’s more likely to not only be read, but also implemented. And the interviews and survey ensure there’s synergy within the organization, as their thoughts and opinions will be reflected in the final document – versus a consultant thinking they have all the answers.
As you continue to SHIFT, ask yourself how can you bring more simplicity to the experience? In developing your road map, what are the stops along the way? And finally, how can you create synergy within your team by creating the journey together?