Back to basics is one of the worst strategies ever conceived. Having to engage in such a wasteful activity means people were allowed to stray from these core best practices. Why does this happen?
The basics are harder than most people will admit. It’s usually not the doing of them that’s difficult; it’s the remembering to do them that is the clear and present game charger. Corporate life today is often filled with too much to remember and do in too little time and space.
To improve organizational effectiveness, leaders must simplify and codify the basics, removing any and all barriers to doing them. Then, and only then, can they and should they unwaveringly hold people to these tenets. This “no excuses” approach holds everyone to task—staff have no excuse when they choose not to do the basics, and managers have no excuse when they choose not to hold people to them.
Here are the four steps to make the basics truly basic:
Simplify the Basics
Simplicity fosters sustainability. The best way to do this is by systematizing how things are done. Step-by-step approaches, memorable processes, and mnemonics all help make what’s basic and important simple and sustainable.
Stay With the Basics
Just like rinse and repeat was a catalyst for substantial growth of sales of hair care products, reinforce and repeat reinvigorates success and growth by focusing people on core best practices. Reinforcement begins with communication of clear and reasonable expectations and is repeatedly reinforced in a variety of ways to keep the message memorable.
Master the Basics
Practice makes profits. This does not mean practicing on customers; it does involve creating a corporate practice field where team members review core best practices. Repetition to Mastery through ongoing rehearsals keeps the basics top of mind while allowing people to safely expand their expertise through successes and failures.
Evolve the Basics
Markets change as the needs of customers evolve over time. So must the basics. Companies must shift and adapt them to meet these evolving needs. Even if you want things to stay the same, change that addresses the changing world is required.
Getting back to basics one last time is prudent, as long as everyone stays with them from that point forward. There is nothing more basic than sticking with what works.
This Week’s Radical Accountability Activating Action: Pick a core best practice and apply the four steps by the end of the week. Then, rinse and repeat!
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