Do you have a “simplification” objective this year? Or does your company have “Simplification” as a strategic axis for the next three years? How many of us are going through a massive transformation exercise involving inordinate amounts of time spent in inward-looking meetings with the aim to simplify how we do business?
In their book “Smart Simplicity”, Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman establish that the world we live in today is six times more complex than in 1955. In the same period, organizations have complexified… thirty-five times!
We KNOW how to simplify so why aren’t we doing it?
Interestingly enough, what to DO to simplify is well understood and known: A few examples include a clear direction and strategy, empowerment and decision-making at the right levels, giving people enough autonomy so that their work has meaning and they can best use their capacity… We all know these things so why aren’t we doing them?
Simplification is frequently seen as a way to reduce costs and organizations are designed to cover every segment of the market, every geography, avoid duplication of work, share best practices and competences. While this makes sense on paper (or rather on powerpoint), these organizations are often disconnected from the daily business and the people who run it.
Simplification, like transformation, is about common sense
What if we approached simplification from the perspective of our customers and our employees closest to them. We may have to accept that we do not have the most perfect organization and enjoy success stemming from people spending most of their time in action to positively impact their customers and the business results.
As my 106 years old grandmother used to say: “where on earth has common sense gone”?