Blog Feature
Lisa Bodell

By: Lisa Bodell on February 13th, 2024

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Harnessing the Power of Simplification: Your Strategic Advantage

Innovation | Managing/Leading Change | Leadership | Organizational Transformation

A few years ago, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world conducted their annual employee engagement surveys, eager to gauge the pulse of their workforce. The results revealed something odd: while employees ranked "Being an Innovative Company" as one of the highest aspects, there was a glaring contradiction. They also ranked "Ability to Get Things Done" as one of the lowest. How could a company be considered innovative while simultaneously lacking the ability to execute?

Upon closer examination, leadership discovered that only certain groups within the organization, notably Research and Development (R&D), were truly driving innovation. The rest of the organization, however, was mired in complexity, hindering their capacity to bring ideas to fruition. This revelation sparked a pivotal realization: simplification had to become a strategic priority. Why? Because complexity was the enemy of meaningful work, stifling productivity and impeding progress. If they kept allowing complexity to happen, they couldn’t move fast enough and they couldn’t complete.

With this newfound clarity, executives sprang into action. They established a global group of Simplification Champions tasked with identifying and eliminating time-consuming inefficiencies. Teams across the organization received simplification training, equipping them with the tools to streamline processes and enhance productivity. Simplification became more than just a buzzword—it became a strategic pillar, deeply ingrained in the organization's operating system.


Learn to prioritize simplification in your organization. Invite LISA BODELL to speak at your next event.



The results were staggering. In just one simplification session, teams identified over 1000 rules and redundancies and eliminated dozens of them, saving an estimated $500,000 in just one hour. This success story served as a testament to the transformative power of simplification.

Executives at innovative companies like Google, Netflix, and Merck had all experienced the profound impact simplification could have on the bottom line, innovation, and employee morale.

According to Siegel+Gale’s annual Global Simplicity Study, companies that embrace simplification boast a stock price that outperforms their competition by 212%. Their customers are 70% more likely to recommend them, and their employees are 20% more likely to stay. And the best part? It costs almost nothing to implement. All it requires is giving people permission to challenge the status quo and eliminate unnecessary complexities.


LISA BODELL: If You Get the Work Right, You Get the Culture Right

As a leader, there are simple steps you can take to start making simplification your competitive edge:

  • Make it a Strategic Focus: Communicate to your teams that challenging the status quo is not only expected but vital. Foster a culture that values doing less and prioritizes simplification.
  • Create Systems to Continually Simplify: Implement quarterly "Kill A Stupid Rule" sessions or contests across the organization. This provides teams with a structured forum to identify inefficiencies and collectively agree to eliminate them.
  • Reward Simplification: Incentivize employees for streamlining processes and eliminating wasteful practices. Rewarding simplicity sends a clear signal that busy isn't tolerated and encourages a focus on efficiency.

Simplification is not just about doing less—it's about doing what matters most. By harnessing the power of simplification, teams can move faster, focus more effectively, and spend less time on defense and more time on offense—creating the change they want to see rather than reacting to it. So, let's embrace the strategic advantage of simplification and pave the way for a more efficient, innovative, and successful future.

About Lisa Bodell

World’s best-known expert on simplicity helps organizations banish complexity so people can be their best and focus on the work that matters most. Simplicity unleashes the energy, collaboration, innovation, and engagement lying in wait.