It’s no coincidence that we bring up the subject of KISS during the month of Valentine’s. Who doesn’t love an approach that embodies efficiency and results?
The concept of Keeping it Simple originated as a design principle back in the 1960s. Among its peers are popular variants such as “less is more” and Occam’s Razor. While it remains primarily a design principle, you can also easily apply it to everyday situations.
KISS means minimalist first
But not necessarily in the way you might think. Rather, keeping to KISS means sorting out the basics first. Taking baby steps, make sure the foundations are solid before proceeding higher up.
As an analogy, consider a typical project management approach. Before you can even begin to think about the potential results, you have many smaller requirements. You need to establish the desired outcomes. You’ll need an appointed team. You need to document processes and responsibilities, as well as communication channels. Your stakeholders need to know their assigned tasks and deadlines. These elements far outweigh the outcomes in terms of relevance and importance towards the beginning of your project timeline.
Furthermore, such an approach lends itself towards better design and user experiences from the start. What would happen if you invented a tremendously useful device, which could only be used comfortably by people who are ambidextrously double-jointed in their index fingers?
The KISS of office life
When you use KISS as a general approach to daily office tasks, you’re helping create a breath of fresh air. How so? Well, placing a little more emphasis on smaller achievements has more than one advantage.
For starters, you’re cutting out “work clutter” by reducing the size of the to-do list. If something ranks as worth doing and can be done quickly, go ahead and finish it off. You’ll find this actually leaves you more time for complex tasks, as you eliminate the extent to prioritise. What’s more, you’re handing yourself a psychological advantage when it appears you have less to do. Best of all, no matter what transpires over the remainder of the day, you have the earlier successes and accomplishments to earmark your progress. Finally, you’re setting a go-getter example to everyone around you and raising the bar for performance excellence.
Don’t forget to KISS and tell
Whenever you achieve a simple success, make a note of it and share it with someone. This has two benefits to it. Firstly, you keep a running tally of your achievements. You can use this to reinforce your own confidence, or simply present it for performance reviews. Secondly, sharing all the positives has a synergistic domino effect in an organisation. The more positives you share, the more the effect of that positivity rolls out. In addition to this, you’re adding to the point above and setting a higher standard for others to shoot against.
Where to place your KISS
There are many examples of where to apply a KISS philosophy. You should begin by looking at the easier ones until you’re competent at applying the approach without too much effort.
Try taking a page out of the old politeness book and provide colleagues with advice on office etiquette. Or, you could make your communications appear solidly professional by having all staff go through a basic business writing training module. And don’t forget to offer something that wouldn’t necessarily be a perfect fit. For example, not everyone can make professional use of it, but a basic course in financial literacy may help them understand certain aspects of how your organisation’s finances function.
KISSing inside and outside
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to apply your approach internally and externally. Consider your clients as well. There’s nothing to say they wouldn’t benefit from a larger number of small but visible wins. What’s more, you can easily leverage such a series of successes into a more solid and long-term relationship with them. This is because you’ll have a foundation of many positive results to base it on. Finally, you can take the opportunity to share or discuss the KISS approach with them. You may find a kindred spirit or two, giving you one more shared bond in business.
While we at Adept are fond of large-scale endeavours and successes, we’re never lost touch with the fundamentals and how they drive those successes.