Scary fact: Business information doubles about every three years. In other words, if your job is complex now, in three years you'll have twice as much noise to sift through just to get your work done. Bill Jensen makes no bones about it: Making a job simpler is very hard work, and it's getting harder all the time. But he believes it's possible, and in Simplicity
, he lays out concrete steps for managers to follow. For example, he offers a five-step process for launching a new project: Know which few things are important; consider how people will feel when you move forward on these things; use the right tools; create expectations and then manage those expectations; and create a "teachable view" of what you're trying to achieve.
If you consider all five of these building blocks before launching a new project, you should be able to overcome one of the biggest problems workers have with their jobs: too much information, with too little filtering. In fact, Jensen says, about 80 percent of business communication--meetings, e-mails, presentations, whatever--has a major problem: the information doesn't require action, or it requires action but there are no consequences of doing nothing. These building blocks can be applied to every form of communication and, most important, can be used as a formatting device to describe projects from start to finish quickly on a single sheet of paper. That'll get anyone's attention, from the boss on down to the people who actually have to do the work the project requires. It doesn't get any simpler than that. --Lou Schuler
From Library Journal
Jensen, president and CEO of the Jensen Group (a change and communication consulting firm), believes that most workers suffer from "cognitive overload"--too many choices and a lack of direction. This book presents the results of a survey of more than 2500 people in 460 organizations, along with a plan of action for business leaders. Disappointingly, Jensen applies his model of "know, feel, use, do, and succeed" unsuccessfully across several chapters. It is particularly jarring, in a book about simplicity, to find such a cluttered layout; the pages are filled with blocks of oversized type, notes, different typefaces, sidebars, and other distractions. Likewise, his suggestions are sometimes hard to follow, e.g., "For more help, reread anything relating to tools and support in the last three chapters"; indications of particular page ranges would have been far more helpful. Recommended only for comprehensive business collections and large libraries where demand warrants.-A.J. Sobczak, Covina, CA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.