Editorial: Simplification for greater success

Apr 02, 2014

Look for ideas to simplify every single thing you do and the benefits will accrue, Mark Zweig writes.

For those of you not aware of it, earlier this month ZweigWhite announced the combination of two of our magazines – CE News and Structural Engineer – into a new, expanded single publication, Civil + Structural Engineer magazine. It’s all part of our efforts to simplify our business: for our readers, our advertisers, and sponsors – and ourselves. The reason for simplification is simple (sorry for being so “simple” myself!): Over complication of an A/E or environmental firm (any firm) is a natural outcome of being in business a long time. The number of offerings tends to increase over time. Mature industries foster differentiation. Differentiation results in complication. Complication is harmful to quality. You cannot be good at everything. No one is. The more menu offerings you have, the greater the odds are your cooks won’t know how to make some of them. The more complex your “offer” is, the harder it is to sell. The people doing the selling have to explain what you’re selling and know about all of it. The wider the range, the less likely any one individual with your firm will be able to know about all your products. Simplify. Do fewer things but be better at them. But simplify your business in other ways, too. Have fewer offices. Have shorter contracts. Use fewer contract forms. Shorten job numbers. Shorten the policy manual. Reduce unbillable project codes. Move out the people you don’t need. Get out of businesses you shouldn’t be in. Make your benefits program simpler. Simplify your proposals. Make presentations shorter. Make the organization structure simpler. Reduce the number of titles you have. Simply your legal form of organization – do you really need all of those different companies? For those of you who are in love with the idea of creating committees, creating a committee on simplification may actually be one worth doing. Look for ideas to simplify every single thing you do and you’ll drive cost out of your system as well as improve the overall performance of your firm! Mark Zweig is the chairman and CEO of ZweigWhite. Contact him with questions or comments at mzweig@zweigwhite.com. This article first appeared in The Zweig Letter (ISSN 1068-1310), issue #1050, originally published 4/7/2014. Copyright© 2014, ZweigWhite. All rights reserved.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.