simple is hard

Simple Is Hard.

Take for instance our core values. Most companies have an average of eight core values and I bet that the leadership team doesn’t know those core values without having to read them off a card. If you have to read something off a card, are you really able to live it yourself much less be able to communicate it throughout your entire organization?

We have only three core values at Comfort Research and there is very good reason for that. Lists of 3 or 5 are easier to remember and when they are easily remembered they are more easily acted upon. Our core values are short but powerful statements.

Those core values are:

  1. Find a Better Way,
  2. Expect the Best and,
  3. Do the Right Thing.

We tie our values together using acronyms like FAB and DiRT for easy memory recall. We have a rhythm each month where we reward our Ambassadors for their actions related to one of the core values. We then bring the Ambassador up in front of everyone at an all company monthly meeting and hand them an oversized check (that is, of course, after we start with a stadium-style wave around the room, a bunch of excited yelling, and perhaps even a confetti canon or two). We take their picture and then post that picture on our core values “Wall of Fame” with what action they took that was an awesome example of living a core value.

Sounds simple…right? It is! But holy crap that was hard to get there.

We did a lot of things right and many wrong in getting to that process. We have made numerous changes to the process and certainly to the details of how we are recognizing our Ambassadors along the way. We now have an incredibly simple system surrounding our core values.

Are we done? – Hell no! We will look to take the cumulative property of what we have done and try to simplify it again tomorrow so we can do a better job communicating our core values. We do this to (1) attract those that have passions similar to our own and (2) to take those that already make up our amazing team to the next level so that never stop improving the simplicity.

Adding complexity makes most of us believe that we are adding value when in fact the opposite is true. Next time, try making things simpler. It is harder to do because you need to fight the urge to capture everything when you should be capturing only the most important things.

One simple clarifying message is harder to align to but it is worth every ounce of effort as it will be more easily communicated, understood, and executed-upon.

While simple is harder, it is more certainly worth it.