Just last month, I was woken up by a beeping sound in my kitchen. Half asleep, I wandered downstairs and found that my fancy European refrigerator was flashing and beeping. I pushed all the buttons and the beeping stopped. But in the morning, I found that the fridge wasn’t blowing cold air. In a panic, I called my husband to let him know, because while we are overseas, his job provides our housing. So when things go wrong, the protocol is to call their maintenance services.
I followed the protocol, the seemingly simple solution.
What happened next was a complicated (and annoying) game of fridge shuffle:
Day 1: Track down coolers, purchase ice, and remove all food from fridge into coolers.
Day 2: Receive a temporary fridge and move food from the coolers into the fridge.
Day 3: Receive new refrigerator, remove ONLY broken fridge, and move food from temporary fridge to the new fridge.
Day 4-6: Host two fridges (new and temporary) in my kitchen.
Day 7: Temporary fridge removed. Order restored.
That was 7 days. 3 fridges. 3 unloads. And 3 reloads.
It was torture. Living abroad comes with its challenges and when simple things get complicated it feels inexplicably overwhelming.
So when the front door lock was jammed last week. I bypassed protocol and called a locksmith the next morning, and by lunch the same day the lock was no longer jammed.
I could have followed the protocol, but I took the simpler route to save myself the chaos and aggravation.
But here is the funny thing. I am confident that the protocol was put in place to make our lives simpler and avoid the potential aggravation of taking care of things ourselves.
Sometimes we create systems and processes to make things easier, but in the end, they only complicate matters.
Have you created systems or processes that actually complicate matters?
It can be difficult to admit that the systems and processes we designed to make our things simple, actually complicate it.
So since July 12th was National Simplicity Day I was inspired to take a step back and review some of my own processes and procedures. I’ve uncovered same areas where I can make improvements to simplify my work and actually improve my efficiency and productivity.
How can you Keep It Super Simple (KISS)?
Here are 5 easy steps to remember to KISS:
- Assess the situation
Talk to your team and find out what is and isn’t working. Make it clear that you are open to making changes, where possible, and they will be open to telling you where they would like to see improvements.
- Review the process
Once you and your team have identified systems or processes that need some work, review and identify the parts that are working, and the parts that need to be fixed, changed, or removed.
- Test new process
Now that you’ve got a new system or process, test it. It may take more than one or two adjustments to get it right.
If the new system or process needs to be tweaked, then do it. You don’t want to get so set in your ways that you create something new that is worse than the original.
Now that it has been tested and adjusted, make a part of the organizations reality. Be sure that everyone is aware of the changes, and how the new system or process works.
We can get in our own way so when it starts to get complicated, remember to KISS.