Michelle Boggs knows complexity. The co-founder and president of McKinley Marketing Partners Inc. has overseen the Alexandria, Virginia, marketing temp agency's growth from $800,000 to $12 million in sales in five years as it opened offices from coast to coast. She loves tackling problems, such as designing an in-house information system to track projects and billing. But sometimes even Boggs admits complexity can be too much.
"In a recent meeting we were discussing solutions to an issue, and we were going in five different directions as we brainstormed some ideas," says Boggs, 41. "They were all great, but they were all complicated. My comment was, 'Hey, guys, we need to keep this simple.' "
Bill Jensen agrees. The Morristown, New Jersey, consultant contends that companies need to drastically simplify the way they do things. "Simplicity begets innovation, creativity and speed," says Jensen, who has preached his gospel of simplicity to executives at such companies as Monsanto, Ford Motor Credit and Bank of America. Simplicity makes it easier to spot what's important in the stream of information assaulting all businesses today, he says. "The easier it is to figure out what's important," he adds, "the faster you get it done and the higher your quality is."
Mark Henricks is an Austin, Texas, writer who specializes in business topics and has written for Entrepreneur for 10 years.