Keep It Simple Stupid

Keep-It-Simple-StupidWhat do Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Tupperware have in common?

Based on a recent article in The Economist, simplicity.

According the magazine’s Schumpeter column (Schumpeter is the economist who coined the phrase creative destruction), “… Tupperware has three million freelance salespeople, working everywhere from plush Austrian suburbs to Indian slums. TCS employs almost 300,000 people to solve complex technological problems. (they both)… agreed that the only way to avoid being blinded by complexity is to concentrate on the few simple things that can give their businesses focus and their workers direction.”

The Economist goes on to share “most successful businesses thrive on simplicity of some sort. German Mittelstand companies are doing well by focusing on narrow niches. Built-to-last companies, such as Coca-Cola, are masters of distilling their corporate identity into a simple formula which employees can internalise and customers can easily recognise. McDonald’s is a global success because its business model is so simple and replicable.” (The Economist is a British publication so there are three words in this paragraph that a U.S. spell check will show as incorrect ;-).

I agree.  At Intertech, we strive to keep it simple:

  • In overall guiding principles–For a over a decade we’ve had one mission, one purpose, three values, and three guiding principles.  We repeat these every month at our all company meetings.
  • Goals–Every year, at our strategic planning meeting where we outline goals for the next year, we limit the number of goals to no more than three.  This creates clarity.  This also creates accountability (e.g. if the person in charge of 10 goals says s/he accomplished 3, it sounds good.  If the person in charge of one goal says s/he didn’t accomplish anything, it sounds not so good)
  • When explaining things–the leadership team talks in plain terms (e.g. “what we sold last month” not stuff like “top line generation”)