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By The Numbers

Workplace Survey, Findings

1.Workers are struggling to work effectively. 

When focus is compromised in pursuit of Collaboration, neither works well.

2. Effective workplaces balance focus and collaboration. 

Workplaces designed to enable collaboration without sacrificing employees’ ability to focus are more successful.

3. Choice drives performance and innovation. 

Employers who provide a spectrum of choices for when and where to work are seen as more innovative and have higher-performing employees.

 

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LESS IS MORE: THE OLD LESSON FROM HENRY FORD

When Ford offered the Model T in just one color it was on a mission to build a better vehicle. Ford knew that every decision made is at the expense of an alternative. Even with today’s technological advances, there's still only so much time in a day and so many resources available. Auto manufacturers--like any industry or business--must make decisions at the expense of others every day. In other words, in the early 1900s, Ford recognized that compromise was necessary for efficiency and quality. When he, famously said, "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, so long as it is black”, the reason for this was because achieving production line efficiency and improved product quality required compromise.

 

“Doing fewer things comes with the benefit of doing things more efficiently” says Kelly Main, a Marketing Expert, “streamlining the production process means superior production. It's perhaps the same dilemma that a business such as McDonald's faces, as it continuously expands its menu offerings--complicating the production process, making efficiency more difficult, and lending to its ongoing broken ice cream machine conundrum.”

“The idea that fewer options mean higher quality, more sales, and increased customer satisfaction are widely understood but largely unpracticed” suggests Main. “Options muddy the water, and the most successful companies are those that make the decision for their consumers crystal clear. Start-ups that not only understand this but live this are those that outlive the competition and become the most successful in their markets, marrying production efficiency and product quality, leading to increased sales and satisfied customers” says Main.

In the 21st century, Ford’s principle holds the unexpected key to building automobiles of the future, though it's not Ford that is using it, but Tesla does it by simply recognizing that too much choice is a bad thing. In effect, in a market bursting with decision overload, Tesla stands out with fewer choices. Compared with auto brands like Toyota, Tesla offers about one-third of the color options and one-quarter of the models. Meanwhile, on paper, Tesla's stock value is more than 4X that of Toyota.

“Tesla has built a brand on fewer options, with its futuristic--and predominantly white--electric vehicles. But the real genius behind the limited color selection at Tesla isn't rooted in brand building. It's in consumer behavior and psychology. When a business works tirelessly chasing the whims of every customer, it dilutes its offering. Often, the more a business tries to appease everyone, the more it struggles to satisfy anyone” says Main.

Even though the concept itself is 113-year-old, many business leaders get blinded by wide product offerings. Take restaurants, for example. Many try to appeal to every patron's taste, and yet when a patron is faced with a novella of a menu, their hearts don't jump with delight, as the restaurant may envision, but their heads spin.

Psychologically, and according to the paradox of choice, people may be drawn to a plethora of options, and yet the more options they have, the less satisfied they are with their choice. In fact, adults make more than 35,000 decisions per day. Our brains are bursting with conscious and subconscious decision-making, and so what we want isn't another choice but the reprieve of fewer--but superior--options.

“Businesses that try to do everything do less of any one thing. Those that become the best--whether automakers like Tesla or the world's top athletes--are those who focus on quality over quantity” suggests Main. “Time is invested in becoming an expert at one thing. We become what we focus our energy on. And in a market of abundant choice, the best products or services aren't those that do it all, but those that are all in one doing one thing. Not only does a large number of products and product options lead to lower product quality, but an abundance of options leads to decision overload.”

Time and time again, research proves that more isn't always better and that when consumers are faced with too much choice, they're less likely to make a choice. “In other words, offering more oftentimes means selling less. And when you do land a sale, customers with a large library of choices are less satisfied with their choice. Think of it as less choice, more commitment” concludes Main.