This post originally appeared on Forbes on April 30, 2021.
Leidy Klotz's new book Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less explores an underutilized change technique—the art of taking away. As he writes in an article for Behavioral Scientist, this realization came to him while building a Legos bridge with his son. When they realized the support towers were unequal heights, he reached behind him to grab a Lego to add to the shorter tower. When he turned back around, the problem was already fixed. His son had removed a Lego from the taller tower.
In our strive to fix or improve systems, processes, and places, our impulse is to add, rather than take away. We often neglect subtraction as a powerful change agent. But are there gains to be realized when we subtract things from the employee experience? Can less really be more when it comes to employee engagement? Basecamp is betting on it.