Simple Is Beautiful
We get a lot of questions about our Core Values here at 12five. Since we post them on the front of our website and on our walls, people always want to know how we created them. I thought it might be a good time to highlight one of these values and what it means to our team and to our clients.
Simple Is Beautiful - Quite possibly my favorite of our Core Values. This was the first one I wrote. When writing these Core Values, I went through an exercise of thinking through my mentors, people I looked up to, companies I admired, etc. By going through this exercise, I noticed a common thread, simplicity.
I’m not sure where I heard it first, though I thought it was a Steve Jobs quote. In looking for the actual quote, I don’t see this exact quote attributed directly to him, but this is certainly where I pulled the theme from. Everything he created was to show the elegance of simplicity. He would always talk about making even the "inside" of a product simple and beautiful.
"When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through." - Steve Jobs
I loved this commitment to elegance and how it carried through to simplicity. This is why I made this our first Core Value.
For us, this Core Value starts with the way our company works. Everything we do is compared against this backdrop. We are constantly looking for ways to make a process or communication simpler. For our team, this means using software that is simple to understand and not overwhelming the team with multiple software to utilize. Wherever we can, we are trying to use what we already have in place to solve a challenge. It’s easy to sign up for every workflow and software out there, but then you lose the simplicity of your process. Now your team needs access to a myriad of different software which means different logins, different browser tabs, different versions of projects and so on and so forth.
We also choose to keep how we operate simple. If anything feels cumbersome, we do our best to reduce or change the item. Our policies aren’t always the least expensive, but we are always trying to make them the simplest. We aren’t 100% there yet, but we are working every day to make 12five a place that our team loves to work at because it simplifies their life and their goals.
For our clients, Simple Is Beautiful is crucial. Our industry is one fraught with confusion and misunderstanding. We do our best to push against this and in some instances do a complete 180 from what others in our industry are doing.
Call us crazy, but we think our clients should understand the program that they are signing up for, so we write our Pre-Approval Letters in layman’s terms. For too long, companies in our industry have used industry jargon and hidden fees throughout their structures. We did away with that and created a simple pricing structure that any business owner can understand and then build into their business model. Educating this isn’t always easy, but we think it’s the right thing for us. There are even more ways, just like this, that we try and make our company beautiful through simplicity.
We put these Core Values everywhere so that our team can strive every day to live them and in this case, make their lives and the lives of our clients simpler.
I think this quote sums it all up:
"In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity. - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow"
In what ways has simplifying your business helped you?