“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein. 

We had our garage roof replaced last week. Not newsworthy I know, but it highlights the impact of what appears to be a simple decision – replacing a garage roof.  

  • Discovery – finding out what is in the garage 
  • Reflection – why is it still in there 
  • Realisation – it’s all got to come out!  

One of our American friends has a theory about British garages. He described us as “crazy Brits who leave expensive cars out in the snow, wind and rain but keep our junk warm and dry in the garage!”

While exploring our garage, I discovered a new word. Cruft. Nothing to do with four-legged friends, but everything to do with accumulateduseless excess. The computer savvy will recognise it as a description of unnecessarily complex and bloated code. Farmers use it to describe the unusable portions of grain discarded from the harvest. My garage contents sit uncomfortably close to those definitions. So, to work...

The euphorifrom clearing out the garage spilled over into full-frontal assault on the attic. We found boxes from our previous house (we moved over twenty years ago) that had never been opened.  

I started to think about business cruft, or clutter. This lockdown period provided the opportunity to review our office operations and have a good old-fashioned clear out. Clutter such as redundant systems and layers of administration were removed. I began to wonder how you might describe something that has proved indispensable and never past its best. I found patina, used to describe the lustre or shimmer resulting from consistent long-term use. The smoothed leather cover of a well-read bible, a family dining-room tablethe fretboard of a favourite guitar.

While cruft has no value, or purpose, except perhaps taking up space, patina is evidence of something truly valued, that has brought comfort or enjoyment over time. What a challenge for any business. How do you become so valuable as to become indispensable?

For any business, its value can be obstructed by the clutter of redundant thinking, red tape or poor practices. We relentlessly pursue clean, straight line thinking and seek to identify smarter solutions. We want to spend time with clients adding value, not immersed in processes or paperwork; digital or otherwise.

So, out with the cruft, in with the patina; let’s have undisputed evidence of cherished, long-term value.

P.S. Off to tackle the wardrobe. Do you think flares will ever make a comeback?