What Lotus Cars teaches us about business

18th May 2018

 

We are a mixed bunch at Rokker, but fair to say that to a person we appreciate great design, in all forms. I am particularly fond of cars. I like the engineering, I like the ergonomics and aesthetics, I find it interesting that they say something about a person and that some people care about that and some people simply see them as a tool to get from A to B.

 

I am a total nightmare for a car dealership, I don’t know what I want because I could have a car for all sorts of occasions: 9 seater for kids, friends and kayaking, estate for family holidays with reasonable MPG’s, a 4×4 for the 3 days a year when you need it or when you get to park in a field for a festival and any number of new to old sports cars for blasting around the country lanes.

 

I was recently looking at Lotus’, not to buy one, but more to see what this local (well, fairly local in Norfolk) heritage brand is doing with their Chinese investment money, and this bought me back to a marvellous quote I had forgotten. Colin Chapman (the Founder of Lotus Cars) said ‘Simplify, then add lightness’, on the principle that more power makes you go faster in a straight line, lightness helps you go faster everywhere.

 

It is no great leap to see how this principle is also applicable to modern business. As companies grow they add people, process and tools designed for that time in their lifecycle, often appropriate for there and then but found wanting as the business grows again. At this point more process is overlaid and someone new picks up the management and orchestration, adding their own little elements until BAM you are suddenly left wondering why it takes 8 people to review and 12 signatures just to get a supplier set up on a system or to get a proposal to a client, or a new product development signed off even though your customers clearly want it. We have all seen this type of thing.

 

At this point ‘adding lightness’ is a perfect solution. Creating efficiencies, thinning out bureaucratic process and (really importantly) creating a mindset of agility in the team all help you move faster with less lateral roll. It is certainly fine to add a little more power for the straights (your main corporate strategy) but when you hit the bends (corporate change) then lightness absolutely counts!

 

Andy Rogers

Founder & MD

 

Rokker is the UK’s leading Business Design company; working across a range of Growth, Optimisation and Innovation projects for a range of SMEs and PLCs. If you would like a little lightness added to your company feel free to say hi here: hello@rokker.co.uk