Simplicity and focus: Force multipliers

January 10, 2013

By Joe Calloway, Author of “A Category of One”

Like just about every other business in the world, the secure records destruction industry has and is experiencing unprecedented change and challenges. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “I’m doing everything I can think of to improve business, but it’s not working.” Remember, top performers aren’t the people who do the most things. Top performers are the people who do the most important things.

You don’t have all the time in the world, nor do you have unlimited money or people. Whether your focus is a hyper-competitive commercial market, or relatively new markets like residential, to win with finite resources requires that you leverage every single resource at your disposal. What you need is a force multiplier.

“Force multiplier” is a military term that is the effect produced by a capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and, thus, enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment.

Steve Jobs once said “My mantra is simplicity. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean enough to make things simple, but that it’s worth the effort, because if you can make things simple, you can move mountains.”

Simplicity and focus are your force multipliers, but they aren’t easy to achieve. It’s so much easier to come up with 20 priorities than it is to come up with three priorities. The obvious problem with 20 priorities is that it’s a bogus concept. You can’t focus on everything. Twenty priorities means no priorities.

If you blast a steel wall with the relatively large flame of a flame thrower, you’ll create a lot of heat, but you won’t get through the wall. If, however, you use the blue tip flame from an acetylene torch, you can cut through the steel like butter.

Here are some questions to consider as NAID members begin this new year of opportunity:

  • Where have we made our business too complicated?
  • What is something we can do immediately, right now, to simplify things and get focused?
  • What do we need tostop doing?
  • Where do I need to apply a blue tip flame?