Simplicity – Eliminating the Unnecessary

boxes As we prepare for our move from Germany to Florida we are in the middle of packing boxes of our belongings to take with us on this journey. I can honestly say this is a task that I don’t like doing and if possible something I look to outsource, i.e. get someone else to do.

But when we do that we miss out on an opportunity to save costs and get rid of so much stuff that we do not need, want or will ever use again.

I’m sure now if you have read many of my articles that you will know I love movies, and consequently I have a large DVD collection, one which also needs to be packed and transported.

To be honest I must have over  300 DVDs, and BluRay discs, as I say love movies, and whereas most people will put on a favourite album to listen to to relax, I will put on a favourite movie to relax to.

I have lost count of how many times I have seen some of my favourite movies: The Godfather; Gladiator; Good Will Hunting; Mississippi Burning: As Good As it Gets, Star Wars; etc. etc.

However, in that 300 DVDs there are some duds, movies that I bought in a rash moment and which I have watched once, or stopped watching part way through, movies that just didn’t do it for me Les Miserables, Mouin Rouge, Gravity, for example. There are also movies that I bought which were ok, but which I would probably never watch again.

So as we did the packing I decided that I would do a purge of those movies that I would not be likely to watch again, and out of 300 video I was able to cut the number down by about half, which I thought was a pretty good effort.

Then my wife picked up a DVD, October Sky, and she said to me ‘Why are you taking this with you, its still in its sealed wrapper, you don’t even like the actors in it, you know you’re never going to watch it’.

So that made me decided to go back through the films I was taking and this time instead of asking myself is this something I won’t watch this again, I changed the question to is this something that I will watch again.  Taking that approach I ended up just selecting around 60 of the DVDs, which is 20% of my collection.

Taking this approach I had reduced the number of boxes that we would be transporting from 5 to just 1.

This could have a cost saving to us if we are tight for space in the container, because I definitely wouldn’t want to pay for another container just to take some DVDs I wasn’t going to watch again.

But not only is there a potential monetary saving, but there is also a saving in effort, because not only would we be transporting DVDs I won’t watch again, but we would also be unpacking them and then looking to find somewhere to put them in our new home. All of which, if I’m honest is a waste of time and effort.

I also decided to take the same approach with my clothes, anything I couldn’t see me wearing again or even worse, that didn’t fit me any more, I decided to jettison, which results in another 3 or 4 boxes that we don’t need to pack, transport and then unpack.

It is so easy to get attached to things, things we neither need, want or are likely to use again, and it’s also the same in business, we have a lot of processes and tasks which have become part of the establishment, have become institutionalised and which if we were starting from scratch we would just drop.

So we should look to review our business and all processes, systems and especially meetings and imagine if we were staring out again what are the things that we wouldn’t bother with.

If we can be ruthless, and really challenge whether these are needed; add value or are just adding unnecessary costs; or are taking time way from our teams; then we could streamline our businesses, potentially reduce costs, and make more time available for the critical tasks.

Often we are too attached and we need help, I remember my friend Pete telling me that when he was moving from his house his wife had 4 boxes of shoes, as he looked through 2 of the boxes he found shoes he’d never seen his wife wear, so he decided to leave them. It was over a year before she asked where her shoes were.

Now Pete is a braver man that me, my wifes’ shoes are sacred (I need to say that as I know she will read then and no dear I haven’t left any of your shoes honest 😉 )

But if you need help to review your processes, meetings and systems in order to identify what you can jettison drop me an email and I can guarantee that we will identify costs saving opportunities.

Gordon Tredgold

#Leadership Principles