As part of my personal professional development I have tried to listen to others’ criticisms of and observations about my approach and to view them as great opportunities to improve my performance.


There have been many observations made by my friends and colleagues over the years  – it is their honesty that has allowed me to improve and grow as a businessman, and for that I will always be grateful – more about this on another day


One of my big faults over the years has been to overcomplicate things.  My operational business plans are almost legendary amongst my colleagues.  In my quest to “get it right” I propose systems that measure and control all aspects of the business – I have in the past been given information about everything.  I produced a Management Dashboard akin to a Boeing 747 flight deck!,   The question is, do I really need all of that information, and what do I do with it?


Whilst the consideration that “Information is Power” is certainly true, it can, in my experience also be a hindrance – too much information in the past has lead me to focus my time into the wrong areas, or to misinterpret the cause of a challenge.

The best Managers that I have met have this great ability to cut away the unimportant things and get to the nub of an issue quickly and effectively, and then to take corrective measures before too much damage is done to the business.  These individuals keep their operation as simple as possible, and it is wonderful to watch them work (or even better work with them) as they are able to think and comment with so much clarity.


Quite a bit of my younger working life was spent in the music business, and I enjoyed many an hour watching some of the world’s finest musicians record their music under the watchful eye and finely tuned ears of some wonderful Producers.  I quickly came to realise that invariably the best recordings were the simple ones – the thing that made the great recordings stand out from the average was as much about what was not played as what was played – great recordings have “space”


Top chefs have the same ability, I experienced a thoroughly enjoyable evening recently hosted by two star Michelin chef Michael Caines – the meal was exquisite – the flavours almost exploded in your mouth – why was it so good? – Because you could taste all of the flavours individually, nothing eclipsed anything else – again, I am no culinary expert, but I would say that it was more about what he left out, than what he put in that gave me this experience – less is more.


And another point…..the simpler it is – the less likely it is to go wrong.  I used to drive an Audi A6 – it was a brilliant and very clever car, the engine management system in this particular car however had a glitch in it, and consequently it would suddenly stop for no reason – it had a mind of it’s own at times.  It was constantly taken back to the dealer where the mechanics (I think they are referred to as technicians these days), and Audi themselves still could not identify the cause of the problem – ( I hasten to add that the service that I had from the Audi dealership over this issue was been nothing short of exemplary) the car was wonderful, but was it too clever by half? – I never had this problem with my Mini when I was 17!  (it does actually beg the question, what will happen to these “intelligent” cars as they get older and the engine management systems start to fail and do things that they want to do – could be a bit tricky if you are driving at 70mph in traffic and the engine just stops!).


The best business concepts are the simple ones – the ones that you can measure and manage.  They are easier to control, and far less likely to go wrong.  When they do go wrong, it is easy to spot the problem and to fix it.


I have put a lot of emphasis recently on the production of clear concise management information – on the advice of colleagues, my 747 flight deck has now changed to a car dashboard – at least when it rains I can find the switch for the windscreen wipers and see the road ahead…….

For More Inspiration……..why not touch base with others who are running export businesses – get more ‘ExportSavvy’ and join our International Trade Community – it is sponsored and hence free of charge to you.  

You could simplify your approach to export by taking a look at our six key considerations as featured in our learning module “The Road Ahead”  – .  it is also sponsored and free of charge.


David Bone CDir – Managing Director  – ExportSavvy Ltd

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