For some unknown reason, business owners and managers make things more complicated and complex than they need to.

Frankly business is not that complicated. A business exists to make a profit. If it doesn’t then give it up. In order to make a profit a business must offer a product or service that has appeal within a market, it must employ people who understand what the business is trying to do and what their place in the scheme of things is, it must market its product or service effectively, it must control expenses and it must provide high levels of customer service. Not a lot there really – but very few businessed managed to do even 50% of the above.

I don’t know why but many of the people charged with managing a business seem t0o make everyones lives difficult by adding levels of complexity to management or directions that are not really required. This is a result of poor planning, bad implementation and a lack of adequate management skills.

In every facet of a business, it is wise to constantly think in terms of how things can be kept simple. Processes should be as simple as possible. When processes become complex, communication breaks down, mistakes happen and customer service suffers.

Communication should be kept simple because the more words that are used in “communicating” the greater the chance of miscommunication. It is vital that business owners and managerscommunicate effecively but they need to cut out jargon and do so in a clear, concise and straightforward manner.

When dealing with problems, be they operational or related to employees, owners and managers nust try to avoid the  tendency to make more out of the problem than is really there. “Cool and Calm” is the watchword. Try to stay calm, think rationally and positively and remain optimistic. Work through the issues methodically and work toward a solution.

Most problems can be dealt with by using simple common sense and keeping things in perspective. Managers who possess a high level of common sense tend to be more successful because they apply sound reasoning and logic to getting things done. Those who try to apply a lot of theory to getting things done find it difficult to move beyond theory into practice. “KISS” – Keep It Simple Stupid is the watchword.

Some “gurus” refer to “blocking and tackling” when it comes to business success. To them blocking and tackling represents the fundamental business practices that must be in place to be successful. Hmmm. Not convinced.

The fact is that you can break businesses down into four fundamentally simple, but broad categories: 

  1. strategy, 
  2. people,
  3. processes, and 
  4. culture.

To create a successful business Directors and managers must deal with these four categories. This approach also allows businesses to focus on four rather straightforward areas and encourages simplicity in planning and management – KISS. Knowing that these four variables must be affected to be successful is the major challenge towards establishing a simple and logical approach to managing a business. Why? Because it brings focus the issues that need to be dealt with.

Of course there are a number of sub issues within the above categories, but most businesses fail to address these four basic categories in a meaningful way.

It isn’t rocket science. Directors and managers need to look at the above issues and ask these simple questions: 

  1. have we defined the right strategies?
  2. do we have the right people in the right jobs?
  3. are our processes as simple and efficient as possible? and 
  4. do we have a high morale, customer-driven culture?

If management is willing to be honest and objective then in most organizations, the answer to one, more or all of the above questions will be “no”. This is a call to action.

A simple, but well-defined plan of attack needs to be agreed in order to deal with those deficiencies that are identified. This process should not be seen as one to apportion blame for things that have gone wrong but one designed to make things better.

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