How Karl Marx taught me a lesson part 2

In an earlier blog I talked about how my friends history exam got me thinking what I can learn from his actions. Details of his exam response are in the first posting.

The second lesson I gained from this was the sheer simplicity and audacity of what he had done. He had basically told the examiner something factual, easy to understand and to the point. Is this not what your boss is generally looking for? Some professional organisations will ask as part of their assessment for a management report and will give a suggested word count of say 7000 words. Can you imagine your bosses face if you presented an assignment like this to him or her and how quickly you would be asked to go away and summarise to one page of A4?

There is something about keeping your responses simple and easy to understand that allows a number of freedoms in the workplace. Firstly it gives you more time, a commodity that is always in short supply. By keeping your responses to a minimum you reduce the amount of time you spend on other peoples work and increase the amount of time you can dedicate to your own activities. It may seem selfish to do this, but hold on a second, what about the person who just asked you that question? Rather than try and find out the answer themselves they have thought it better to interrupt you and steal some of you time while they discuss a case they have been working on in great detail. Of course you should be polite (after all you may want to encroach on their time tomorrow) but keeping your response to the point will give you more time.

This can also be about modifying other people behaviour. If they can see that you are managing your work well and give them the minimum responses but the answers they need they may also start working in a similar way, increased productivity is then on the distant horizon.

Then there is the way in which the message was delivered, in summary – this is how it is, followed by yes, this is how it is.

Karl Marx was a Marxist, indeed he was…

Very often in business you can find that matters get over complicated, indeed whole industries spring up around the need to generate complexity. Nobody really benefits but it takes a straight talking person to cut through that complexity and state very simply that this is how it could b done better, quicker faster, easier. The latter of these is generally the most popular. Any way to make your life easier is worth the effort, and actually it should be less effort to implement. Think about some of the processes you se in your work place. I recently simplified a system regarding developing job descriptions. The team were creating the job description, recording the request and saving the documents in 3 separate systems, sending it to a panel to check, sending it to another panel to verify and eventually sending it out to advert. Clearly this was about he breaking down of an industry, which took some time to tackle and although not all the objectives were achieved my main objective of only using one system was. Outcome being that a 50% improvement rate in meeting targets for delivery has been achieved.

So next time you are looking at a system failing or maybe just feel a bit stuck in a rut with work, perhaps if you remember my colleague and his exam paper answer it might spur you on to simplify, or at least make you smile.


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