Starting from Nothing - The Foundation Podcast | Building your business ENTIRELY from scratch.

Lisa Bodell is the founder and CEO of futurethink, which enables organizations to embrace change and become world-class innovators. She’s also the author of two books: Kill the Company, which is about how to get rid of thing to make space for innovation, and Why Simple Wins which is about how can we get to the work that matters by making simplicity a habit or rather how to make simplicity an operating principle to make innovation happen.

In this interview, Lisa shares how to overcome the complexity trap, and figure out what is holding us back from making change in our organizations. Ultimately, it comes down to defining simplicity, “killing stupid rules”, and asking killer questions.


In This Interview I ask:

3:20 - How do we start down the path of innovation?

5:25 - How do you measure the productivity of “thinking time”?

8:00 - What are we not doing, in terms of cultivating our employees, that is preventing their ability to think, and not do what they’ve always done.

9:55 - How do we create the culture of [Killing a Stupid Rule] in our organizations?

11:45 - How often should you meet with your team and how do you run meetings [effectively]?

17:15 - How can the audience take action in doing deep work?

20:29 - What are some killer questions that people can be asking themselves and their organizations [to] help them get to better answers?

23:42 - How did innovation, change and simplification become your purpose?

25:43 - How did you take your interest & passion and start down the path of making it into a business?

28:01 - What kind of exciting change should [upcoming] entrepreneurs be paying attention to and start preparing for in the next couple of years?

29:12 - What are the skillsets that people need to have to not be replaced by technology?


Kill a Stupid Rule

We need to give people permission for them to get rid of stuff that’s outlived its time (culture norms, business approaches, weekly meetings) - stuff that we do that we never stop to think why do we do it this way? We stop and look at our own behavior and the things we do every day and ask is it necessary? 

It’s everyone’s job to think; however as leaders, we have to empower our teams to get rid of things that aren’t working. Leaders have to mandate simplification and show it by behavior so that team members will focus on work that matters. The reason a lot of people don’t get rid of stuff is because a leader put it in place. You need to have a strong leader who realizes that some things have outlived their time and get rid of them.


More is Not Better

We spend all this time organizing and that’s not simplifying. We also think that doing is more important than thinking. This kind of mindset is what’s keeping us from being innovative. It’s not always about less, it’s about better.


Simplification Starts with Leaders

You have to have someone who is willing to have a subtractive mindset, and not just an additive mindset, who doesn’t have a fear of getting rid of things. We have this fear of holding onto things because once we have something, we feel like it has value. We’re reluctant to give it up because, from a psychological standpoint, we don’t like to give up value and we don’t like to admit we made a stupid decision. We have to be comfortable to admit that something isn’t working anymore and get rid of it.


Time Versus Value

Take an audit of what we spend our time on, and if it has value or not. If it’s not valuable, why are you doing it? If it is valuable, could it be minimized or improve? How can we move it up the value chain to make it take less time and have more value. If it takes a lot of time and has no value, get rid of it. If it takes little time and has high value, you try to model everything after that. If it takes little time and has little value, look at the key levels of simplicity and ask how can I improve the value or decrease the time?


Define What Simplicity Means to Your Company, then Ask Killer Questions

You don’t know how to simplify if you can’t define it. An example definition of simplicity is: “To be simple, it has to be as minimal as possible. It has to be as understandable and clear as possible. It can be as repeatable as possible. It has to be accessible.”


If we had to get rid of several parts of this product or service and still make money on it, what’s the first that would go?

What’s the one audience we don’t want to give away stuff to that scares us, but we should really rethink?

If we had to cut this contract/meeting/process in half, how would we go about doing it in the next 24 hours?


Show Links:

Future Think,

Lisa’s Tedx Talk, How Simplification is the Key to Change

Kill the Company, book

Why Simple Wins, book

Direct download: Episode_159_-_Lisa_Bodell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am CST