Monday, January 15, 2018

Examples of Work Simplification

The Wall Street Journal recently had an excerpt from a new book called "Good at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More" by management professor Morten Hansen.

Hansen's work overlaps my own work as a consultant specializing in Strategic Simplicity® and business simplification.

He discussed how most office super stars don't work longer hours than their co-workers—in fact, it's the opposite.  They focus on, and prioritize, a smaller number of tasks, which they excel at.

If their manager tries to pile more tasks on them, they don't meekly accept them.  Instead, they ask their manager what they should prioritize on.

Hansen gives some examples of how simplicity and focus can help an organization:

1. A manager at a Maersk terminal focused his attention on one activity—how crews moved containers on and off ships.  He ended up noticing that the drivers would unload a container, drive it from the pier to the container lot, then would drive back empty.  The process would then repeat with another container.

Instead, he asked the drivers that, before driving back from the lot, they find an outbound container destined for a nearby ship and drive back with it to the pier.  They ended up adopting a motto "Never drive empty", and their productivity increased substantially.

2. A business analyst at an insurance company noticed that one type of product was growing in popularity, but the online application process for this particular product was buried under several layers of menus.  She asked the software people to change the process for this product to allow it to be filled out with only a few clicks.