Posts Tagged ‘Simplicity’

I am regularly reminded of how easy it is for large corporations to turn simple processes into complex ones.  Today was a frustrating example of that as a wrench was thrown into what had been a simple, straightforward process for the last two years.

With too little notice to carry out a task already planned, scheduled and announced, I was informed that we now had to go through a far more involved process that required multiple layers of paperwork and approvals – none of which has been necessary in the past two years of me performing this task numerous times.

What was accomplished by the new rules?  Only the delay of the task to another day and more people spending time at it than is necessary.

Ideally, I would respond by championing some initiative to get the process changed back to the simple, quick, effective process I’ve used the past two years.  But having no real authority to mandate change in the position I’m in, and having no desire to waste time beating my head against a wall of red tape, what I’ll do is abide by the new, convoluted, unnecessary process and calculate that waste of time into future occasions when this process needs to happen again.

Some may see that as timidly caving in, but I think it’s just choosing my battles wisely.  Where is my effort best placed?  On fighting this change in a process or in getting the projects and initiatives complete that I’m charged with getting done?

Time is a precious commodity at work.  Those who care about efficiency (like me) have a low tolerance level for unnecessary complexity.  It’s a shame that organizations allow “complexity creep” to happen to the detriment of getting work done.  Oh, for leaders that keep an eye out for such issues and who use their authority to keep things simple.

Leap year lesson #165 is Keep simple processes simple.

I love to travel. For a number of years when I was self-employed, I was on the road about three weeks per month. That was perfectly fine with me. I enjoyed it. I got to see all kinds of places I would not have otherwise seen. My wife got to join me on occasion. I have very fond memories of most of those trips.

Travel doesn’t take much of my time any more for work or pleasure, but when I do travel, the ending is always the same – I love coming back home.

After seven nights at South by Southwest in Austin, TX, by yesterday I was anxious to get on that plane and get back to my family, my dog and my own comfortable surroundings. There is just something about settling in to your own chair with your favorite drink in your own castle (however small) that is always better than what even the nicest hotel can offer.

I am grateful that my home and family are a joy to return to. I realize that not everyone is as fortunate, and my heart goes out to those who yearn to get away for good or who fear to come back. Everyone should have that safe haven to call their own.

Today’s lesson isn’t anything that most (if not all) reading it have said themselves after a long vacation or time away. It’s good to be reminded, though, that the grass is pretty green on my own side of the fence. I have all I really could ever need and so much more.

So excuse me while I put on my ruby slippers, click my heels together, and say along with Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz leap year lesson #75 – There’s no place like home.

Our world is complex. Our lives, our relationships, decisions we face, many of our jobs, etc. are brimming with complexity. In the midst of all this complexity, I am drawn to simplicity.

When I look at the electronic gadgets and all the technology that makes up such a huge portion of my time at work and away from work, I appreciate more the simple moments of time on my parents’ farm, walks with my dog, staring at colorful fish in an aquarium or reading a book (paper – not electronic).

When I drive to work in my 11-year-old car, vehicles far more sophisticated than mine pass me by. I admire those who choose the simplicity of riding their bikes to work or those who can work from home or walk to work or who drive older, beat up cars that still get them where they need to go.

After our failed attempt to sell our home last year and to buy a older, Victorian home, I know that I can be quite happy in a small space with very few possessions if it is packaged with peace, quiet, a few necessities and those I love.

When I see others scrambling to climb the corporate ladder, I am thankful that I am content to do that which I love day in and day out with no desire to move up the corporate food chain. I would rather help other younger coworkers reach their goals and move up that chain to achieve their dreams.

When I long for time away from work and home, I don’t dream of exotic, busy places with every moment filled with activity. Rather, I long for a small, quiet room in which I can be alone with my own thoughts.

Many weeks a year I bag up a large bag full of stuff we no longer need and then we give it away. Less is better. Clutter strangles me.

In a world where so many have so little, those of us who have been blessed with much would do well to get by on a little less.

Leap year lesson #49 is Sometimes simple is better.