When we were preparing to release our TakeON! Business Matters conversation theme ‘Keep It Simple’, I did a fair bit of reading of articles about the importance of simplicity in organisations. Seems like we all too often, have a tendency to overengineer solutions for customers when something much simpler would have sufficed.
I remember when I worked at an ice cream company and we were creating the latest novelty ice cream for kids to celebrate the release of The Flintstones Movie. The product we designed had a jelly centre, two different colours of ice cream, and a coloured white chocolate shell with biscuit crumbs on the outside. This made the whole production process much more complicated and no doubt added a lot of extra when the kids really would have been more than happy with a couple of these product features - one colour of with the coloured chocolate shell on the outside. My view on the need to look for simplicity in changed from that day on.
In my reading around simplicity, I saw it's antithesis, ‘complexity’. described the other day as “the cumulative by-product of organizational changes, big and small, that over the years weave complications (often invisibly) into the ways that work is done.”
So the challenge for most businesses is to unwind that complexity and get back to some basics - to really understand why they do things the way they do. And half the time nobody knows because nobody asks the question "Why?" often enough.
Which is why, when I was watching TV last night, I heard a line in a TV drama that reminded me of how simple, and powerful, our TeamTalk conversation process actually is. The line was...
“If you don't talk about s@#t, nothing changes.”
Made me think how true that is, and how that is exactly what our TeamTalk process is all about….. getting people to talk about the brown stuff that is going on in their organisation and what can actually be done to fix it. And then, most importantly, be inspired and empowered to get on and fix it! Nothing changes, big or small, if there isn't meaningful dialogue about it.
I know most organizations say they already talk about 'stuff', but do they really? In a structured and focused way? Where everyone is involved? And encouraged to contribute and make decisions? Fully supported by leaders? And focused on what really matters to success? Where ideas are actively encouraged and fostered? I doubt it. I've worked in too many corporates and seen enough, to be confident in saying that.
I’m sure for many leaders, the thought of implementing a process to get their people talking about their ‘s#@t’, sounds just too simple an answer to their problems. Thing is, it is and needs to be a simple answer.
Probably we too often look for, or are expecting a complex/sophisticated solution to big issues, when a simple one actually does the trick? Quite probably, one of TeamTalks greatest benefits really is its’ simplicity. But there are a few tricks.
Successful conversations require a number of things - integration into business-as-usual, aligned leadership language, and a clear structure and process and a bias towards action. And this is where the ON-Brand Partners TeamTalk process stands apart - it gets people at all levels talking about the important stuff and their role in delivering it.
Back to the brown stuff... Apologies to anyone who is offended by the use of the 'S' word here. It's designed to get the dialogue going - just like a TeamTalk!
And as one of my colleagues pointed out, that word is more commonly used today (by those who've had fewer birthdays than others) as a positive thing. And with TeamTalk that's perfect, because it's really important for teams to talk about their good s#@t (what's working, strengths, stories) as much as their bad s#@t! A truly transformative conversation is one that starts with what's already working and gets people to build from there.