At Palette we have a promise (to our clients and ourselves) that our relationships and work will be based on three pillars: simplicity, energy and integrity.
It’s at the heart of everything we do.
But lately I’ve noticed that for some people and organizations simplicity has (simply) gone awry.
And instead of making life easier, we make things more complex: we complify.
Here’s what I mean. In the course of a workday, you notice something you’re doing is cumbersome and has too many pointless steps. You think, we should come up with a way to fix this.
But instead of cutting through the crap, egos get involved. And then an old process is replaced by a newer process, a few extra levels are added (in the spirit of collaboration, of course) and all of a sudden something that wasn’t working very well to begin with (the devil you know) has been transformed into something that doesn’t work at all.
Congratulations. You’ve just been complifed.
So how can we avoid getting into this trap?
Here are three (simple) steps:
1. Ask yourself if an improvement is truly needed and if so, will people buy in.
2. Strip down the activity to its base elements, assume nothing is sacred and cut, cut, cut. (Pretend CTL-V does not exist.)
3. If your solution involves more than a couple of moving parts…abort! Remember what you’re goal is.
Sounds simple? Sure. But I can tell you in no time, it wouldn’t be hard to add a few more steps to this plan and complify.
Every November 11, I think of my dad, a WWII veteran and a man with a supreme joy for life. He always shared his wisdom, ideals and opinions (often without being asked), but kept the horror of his war experience to himself. He passed away over nine years ago, and for me, Remembrance Day is like another Yahrzheit for him. So today, to celebrate his memory and everything he taught me, I’m going to republish part of a post I wrote in 2007:
When I was growing up in Winnipeg we called Remembrance Day: Poppy Day. And every year when it came around, my Dad would return from work with a poppy on his lapel. Often, he’d bring some home for us and I felt it was both a thrill and an honour to wear one. It connected me with my Dad and by extension with history. It made me feel proud.
Back then my dad, a veteran who saw action as part of Montreal’s Blackwatch regiment in WWII, would have bought the poppy from someone more senior than he was (by that I mean someone who’d fought in WWI).
Later, the ‘torch’ was passed to the WWII vets, and now they’re mostly gone too. Today, you never know who’s going to sell you a poppy (and sometimes it’s just the honour system and a contribution you make at Tim Horton’s). Time marches on.
Every year, I continue to wear a poppy over my heart and feel nostalgic. I love the symbol, the visual reminder of Flanders Fields, where ‘poppies blow between the crosses row on row. That mark our place…’
You can’t pick up a Canadian newspaper, listen to radio or watch TV without hearing about H1N1, the vaccination process, supply issues, lineups…
But the story doesn’t seem to have the same intensity in the U.S. It wasn’t even mentioned in Conan O’Brien’s monologue a couple of days ago (when it was the lead on CBC) – and talk show openings are often a good barometer of big news stories (as silly as that sounds).
I did a search of ‘H1N1 vaccine’ on Google this morning* and in the first 30 results, there were 25 Canadian stories; four U.S. stories; and one international story. That’s over 80 per cent of today’s coverage emanating from Canada.
Now, we all know a pandemic is a very serious situation. And I’m not saying we shouldn’t do everything we can to prevent the spread of the virus. It’s important to be informed and educated.
But I wonder if Canadian media are making H1N1 a bigger story than it needs to be right at the moment.
What do you think?
*Search results as of 9:30 a.m., November 4, 2009