Why Businesses should practice K.I.S.S.ing more often
Monday, April 30, 2012
Having recently attended an event and heard some anecdotes about spotting holes and flaws within businesses and finding solutions to the problems, it occurred to me that quite often these problems need never have existed in the first place. Within all of the impressive business knowledge and jargon, ground breaking technologies, data, statistics and graphs and charts, there were two crucial ingredients missing: logic and a little common sense.
Throughout my childhood, and I am sure the same goes for most children raised by military fathers; there was one phrase that cropped up again and again: ‘K.I.S.S.’, which translates as ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid.’ How beautifully succinct. Even children can easily understand the message, so why can’t businesses?
Simplicity, for many, is the key to success. Projects based around simplicity generally have one thing in common, and that is that what they do, they do well. Better than well, they do the absolute best. If care and attention is made to get the basics right, then it’s pretty much foolproof. The simplicity of a plan allows it to be transparent; therefore common sense and logic prevail. Unfortunately, it is the human condition to make things as complicated as we possibly can, and things that should be glaringly obvious become clouded in the jargon-laden fog.
There is much evidence that the most successful ideas are the most simple. Way back when, a little known grocer in a little known town spotted that his customers only ever bought what they could easily carry. He introduced paper bags next to the till and his profits sky-rocketed, I’m fairly sure he also took early retirement. The more basic an idea or concept, the quicker the human brain can process and understand it, and the quicker people will get on board with it. Aside from having a crystal clear concept, and an idea of what the aims are and how you want to get there, simplicity is also crucial in the communication of the idea.
Another thing that cropped up more than once at the event was just how much time businesses can waste rectifying miscommunication. Whether this is from goal posts changing, language barriers, incomplete initial ideas, or ideas simply not being communicated in a clear and concise manner, it all could be avoided by just getting it right the first time around. Before moving onto the more complex aspects of the business, ensure that the basics are fully covered, or it could all crash and burn at your feet.
Of course, the K.I.S.S. principle cannot always de directly applied to situations, particularly as technology plays an increasingly important role. However, keeping it in mind is a great way of continuously re-assessing your actions – why am I doing this? Is this the best way of doing it? How much of this is superfluous? Hindsight is a wonderful thing, frustrating, but wonderful. Business could avoid many of those painful hindsight-induced realisations if they looked at problems from a distance, or looked at them as a consumer instead of a businessman.
In keeping with the principle, I’ll summarise thus: Simplicity is key.