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By Dan Bowdey, Colorado Business Advisors Coaching and Planning
Just like you, I have often felt the stress, uncertainty, and frustration that business has become so complex that I cannot be as effective as I would like to be. Allow me to share a personal breakthrough and then a powerful law that when applied will help you reduce the complexity in your business and thus become more effective.
Personal breakthrough – One of the many reasons that I partnered with FocalPoint International was to simplify the complexity of being a Business Performance Coach, Trainer, and Business Transition Specialist. I did so when I had figured out there isn't enough time in my lifetime to learn everything that I need to know from scratch. FocalPoint provides resources at my fingertips through the content of Brian Tracy's many books as well as his audio, video, coaching, and training programs. In addition, I am able to constantly leverage the knowledge that is available via the “brain trust” of our global network of over 200 FocalPoint business coaches and trainers. Because of these resources added to my own experience in buying, growing, and selling businesses, my clients are deploying new ideas, getting bigger, and attaining faster results. It's not uncommon to hear from my clients that they got more done in the past 6 months than they had done in the past 6 years!
How to "Simplify Your Life" – Below I share an excerpt from a chapter with this name from Brian Tracy's book FocalPoint:
“This is a wonderful time to be alive. The incredible rate of change we are experiencing is creating more opportunities and possibilities for us than have ever been imaginable. You have more options in more areas than you have ever had before, and the number of options available to you is expanding every week and every month.
At the same time, you are overwhelmed with more tasks and more responsibilities than you ever had before. You are swamped with jobs that you need to get done, books and magazines you need to read, people you need to get back to, projects you need to get started on, or completed, and goals that you want to accomplish. And like a non-stop production line, the jobs keep coming, one after the other, far too fast for you to ever get on top of them all.
You are caught in a dilemma. You want to fulfill your potential and achieve everything that is possible for you at work.
You want to earn the greatest amount of money in the shortest period of time. You want to be a great success in your career. But at the same time, you do not want to sacrifice your family life, your relationships, your health and the personal activities that are so important to you. You want to have it all. You want far greater accomplishment on the one hand and far more balance and simplicity on the other hand.
The good news is that thousands of successful, happy men and women have discovered methods, techniques and strategies that make all these things possible. And whatever others have done, within reason, you can do as well.
A woman in my Advanced Coaching Program, a single mother, was earning just over $30,000 a year when she began applying these principles to her work and her life. She was working 70 to 80 hours per week and was completely overwhelmed with her need to be successful in her career and simultaneously spend sufficient time with her daughter.
Within five years of beginning this FocalPoint process, she has increased her income to more than $300,000 a year and reduced her workweek to 38 hours. Her formula was simple. She dedicated herself to getting better and better at the two or three activities that contributed the most value to her work. Simultaneously she delegated, outsourced and eliminated everything else. Today, she performs far fewer tasks but the value of those tasks is ten times greater than the total output of her work a few years ago.
The starting point of simplification is for you to reduce the number of things that you do in your work and in your personal life. You can only get control of your time to the degree to which you discontinue tasks that are of little value to you. You must stop doing things that you have become accustomed to doing over the years. You even have to stop doing things that you do well and which you enjoy.
After years of study and experiment, I developed my own "Law of Complexity" to apply to time management and simplification. When you apply this Law of Complexity, you will immediately simplify your life, increase your output and start getting more enjoyment from everything you do.
The Law of Complexity says: "The level of complexity of any task is equal to the square of the number of different steps in that task." Complexity is defined as, “the potential for increased costs, increased time and/or increased mistakes.”
For example, a simple task is something that you do yourself. If you decide to make a personal telephone call, there is only one step. The task has a complexity factor of one. One squared is the same as one times one. So, the complexity level of a simple, individual task is one. You pick up the phone, you make the call, and you put the phone down.
If, however, you ask someone else to make a phone call for you, you have now added an additional step to the process. Your complexity level increase to two squared or the number four (two times two equals four).
This means that the potential increase in time required, costs involved, and mistakes or misunderstandings has now moved from one (a single step) to four (two steps), a huge leap in the potential for increased time, cost, and mistakes. Let us say, however, that you ask someone else to ask a third party to make the telephone call for you. Now you have three steps. This is equal to a complexity level of three squared, or nine (three times three equals nine).
The possibility of increased time, increased expense and increased misunderstandings or mistakes has now jumped from a complexity level of one, if you made the call yourself, to a complexity level of nine, when you have someone else ask someone else to make the call.
An activity with four steps has a complexity level of four squared, or sixteen. This greatly increases the potential for increased cost, time and mistakes. A task with five steps has a complexity level of five squared or twenty-five. A task with ten steps has a complexity level of ten squared, or 100.
What this means is that the level of complexity increases exponentially as the number of steps increases mathematically. The level of complexity also declines exponentially as you eliminate steps from the process. (see Figure above)
This law of complexity explains why and how you can dramatically simplify your life by continually looking for ways to reduce the number of steps necessary to complete any task.
A major life insurance company had a problem. The company would receive an application for life insurance from the field. But then it took six weeks for the company to issue an approval or disapproval of the policy. By that time, the prospective client had often lost interest or gone somewhere else.
The insurance company brought in a consultant who applied the complexity theory to the approval process of a life insurance application. He found that the application form passed through twenty-two different hands. Each person checked and approved a particular part of the policy before it finally arrived on the desk of the final decision-maker. The entire process took six weeks. The actual amount of time spent on the policy however, turned out to be less than sixty minutes in all.
With this information in hand, the insurance company dramatically simplified the process. They assigned the first twenty-one steps to a single person. The second person merely double-checked the work of the first person. As a result, they reduced the turnaround time for approvals from six weeks to twenty-four hours. Their insurance underwriting business increased by more than a billion dollars as a result.
Citibank of New York did very much the same thing in their residential mortgage department. Previously, from the time they received a mortgage application, because of the number of steps required for approval, it was taking five to six weeks before they could make a decision to fund the mortgage or not. By that time, the potential home-buyer had often gone elsewhere.
By reducing the number of steps in the approval process, Citibank was able to reduce the turnaround time from six weeks to twenty-four hours. As a result of this incredible speed, they became the mortgage lender of choice among financial institutions and increased their mortgage portfolio by hundreds of millions of dollars, with no decline in quality.”
Takeaway? – Can you see a number of processes in your business that could be made more effective by applying the Law of Complexity? This is just one of dozens of lessons that I teach to my clients as I walk alongside them on their path to achieve their personal and business goals faster than they might ever do on their own; a partnership in excellence and accountability. Remember my tagline, “Partner with Dan to Accomplish Your Plan.” If you ever have a question about business, I’m only an email or phone call away.
Dan Bowdey, MBA
Certified Business Coach | Trainer | Speaker | Business Transition Specialist
FocalPoint Business Coaching & Training – Boulder/Denver, CO
Independently owned and operated by Bowdey Associates, LLC firstname.lastname@example.org
303-579-7026 | Skype: fp_danbowdey | My Website | My Newsletter | My LinkedIn
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