keep things simple (if you want to improve performance)

Interestingly, most companies try to improve their performance by adding complications, not reducing.

The other day, I saw this story…

A patient was transferred to another hospital. 

To ensure everything went smoothly, her family started the preparation 2 weeks in advance – communicating between the two hospitals, discussing with doctors, contacting the ambulance, and requesting medical records for the new hospital.

Because the doctor told the family:

“We have to transfer at 10 a.m. sharp Monday morning. Come early.”

So, the family arrived at the hospital at 9…

(to take care of the discharge procedures)

Except…

The doctor didn’t show up.

The family started pacing around the hallway restlessly.

After multiple back-and-forths with the nurse, the family was sent on a wild-goose chase to kick-start the procedures while waiting for the doctor.

After almost an hour late… 

The doctor finally showed up to sign off the transfer.

But when the family arrived at the new location… 

The counter took one look at the documents prepared by the old hospital and asked:

“Wait.”

Where’s the latest condition summary?”

“That was the FIRST item on my requested info.”

Turned out…

Even after all the preparation, the original hospital still managed to miss the first item on the list.

😓

This happened because of how complicated the process was.

What if there was a single point of contact?

What if there was a clear SOP for everyone?

What if the hospitals communicated all required information digitally?

(we are living in the digital age, right?)

It would have been so much easier.

But most of these complications were results of growth.

When you’re small, everything is fast and simple.

But as you grow, multiple “procedures” and “checkpoints” are added out of good intentions. The problem is…

No one is taking charge of distilling the overall system.

This is the same reason why you’ll need a 12-character password… including numbers, alphabets, small plus large cases, AND at least one special character… for free wifi at the airport.

Now, in my experience, many e-commerces are operating in the same way.

The business started simple.

But as the store grew…

Things get out of control, making everything inefficient.

Killing all performance.

So, here’s my challenge for you:

Take a day off. Find a cafe. Sit down and start brainstorming all the necessary workflow for your business.

Look at everything that needs to be done.

And ask yourself – 

“How can I simplify and standardize each of these workflows to increase productivity and decrease complication?”

You’ll be amazed by the result.

Cheering for you,
Wuyen