The Art of Simplicity (part 1 – Back to Basics)

Many times, we are all thinking if the numbers would add up, if the profit margin would be above par, if the turnover would be high. Welcome to the world of sophistication. A world built up with technology and years of massive upgrades.

Personally, I built up a business from scratch and I am still amazed by how much technology has helped us evolved to the world we are currently in today. Needless to say, majority of us have become lazy and succumbed to our own comfort.

The first question to ask: Is technology a waste of money and a waste of resources? The answer is no. We should rephrase the question to be my resources used with an efficiency of 120%. Many small business managers have tackled this burning question with a heavy burden. Some major enterprises have also found this problem leaking through their doors. Similarly many managers have resorted to dictatorship by using company policies and updated management directives to press on their employees. This would cause much unhappiness and the start of ugly office politics.
I once heard a saying that goes “Simplicity is the greatest form of sophistication”. So how do we simplify today’s sophisticated world? Here is one of them:

Back to basics
In today’s world, can you recall the last time you have personally hand written a letter and deliver it to the recipient in person? This is process that has been long forgotten and technology has made it easier for today’s world to communicate via E-Mail, E-Conferencing, using the internet. However, here is a question. Has technology simplified the process of communication? In many cases, many people would rush to say “Yes!” while in fact the actual answer is no. Technology has only made this process more efficient and more accessible to anyone with access.

Now recall our first consideration, is technology a waste of money and resource?

As leaders we tend to make it more complicated with all the regulation to be considered, the laws that could be conflicted. In fact, we automatically rule out the very solution could save money and time due to over analysis and over confidence that it is not possible. Hence when any discussion goes south, stop and re-think the possibilities. Take the Space Chase Period between the US and Soviet in the 1960s for an example, based on a controversial story, the US spent a big sum of money to equip their astronauts to write in space while the Soviets solved it with a simple pencil. Often over consideration has caused many blind decisions.

Hence for any forms of process, have a look at the process and understand the process. Is it over complicated? Is there a need to use such technology? Will it increase the process efficiency to 120%? If the answer is mostly no, I believe you have made a simple process over complicated. Technology is there to make the process more efficient and not to add another step to the process.

Contributed by: Victor Mai

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