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Sunday, 16 April 2017

Communication Getting Difficult? Apply The KISS Principle!

Are you becoming overcome with the  complications of  life?  How we are given forms to complete for the most mundane reasons and they take ages to fill in ?

If we have a problem with technology, heaven forfend, how difficult it can be to put it right?

More to the point, how very complicated can our businesses become to the detriment of effectiveness?

The old saying that less is more is very easy to say but not always as easy to achieve.  I have noticed for example that this blog has grown in length from around 400 words a few years ago to generally around 650 words now and I wonder if I am just extending it because there is so much that I want to put into it.  I have to question whether it can just be padding.

A wise person said recently that we should question everything that we do in business.  Are we doing things right or just doing the right things?  A really important question is to ask if  we are overcomplicating whatever we do and can we by a little judicious pruning reduce the amount of effort needed while still achieving the same or even an enhanced outcome?

I recall a new member of my Vistage CEO peer group calling me before a meeting to ask if he could bring an  issue that was really bothering him.

He started to tell me and quite honestly I didn’t fully understand what was bothering him.  I suggested that he send me an email with a summary of the issue and I could study it.

It was about six feet long and almost incomprehensible. He started in the same vein at the meeting until someone said the the problem resolved itself into an employee who had been extremely effective and for some reason had gone off the boil.

The member looked a little miffed and said that was the case but it was a rather simplistic explanation.  Damn right it was and that exemplified the problem.

There are many instances when we want to explain a situation and bring every possible bit of evidence to substantiate our explanation.  This usually implies that decision making slows down because we feel that we need more and more evidence.

Worse than that is the expert trying to explain a complex subject to people who know little or nothing about it.  Try as they may the subject becomes less and less understandable and eyes begin to glaze over.

Finally there is matter of jargon.  Especially in business these days there is a dreadful preponderance of management-speak that again gets in the way of lucid thought.  People use jargon because it sounds good to them and makes them feel expert.

I recall an “expert” on the radio saying that “consumers found it difficult to engage with our bills”.  What on earth does that mean?

It all gets in the way of good communication and causes more problems than it solves.  The KISS principle of communication is more and more relevant.

KISS = Keep It Short and Simple.  

That way you are far more likely to be understood.

(I did try, 530 words this time!)

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