Complexity is the enemy of pace. As a result, it is a critical leadership task to simplify the organization wherever and whenever possible. Simplicity drives speed, which, in turn, drives results, and removing unnecessary complexity can be the catalyst for new growth.
As a starting point, take the test, below. Simply score your own organization (and your role within it) from zero to 5 for each of the statements below.
- We have a clear strategic intent that, in simple, everyday terms, articulates how we will succeed
- As a management team, we have identified a handful of objectives (3-6) that drive our focus and activity
- We have an overarching #1 goal that is the ultimate driver of our decisions and actions
- We have crystal-clear accountabilities across the business and managers are never concerned that they’re stepping on someone else’s toes
- We have minimized the number of management layers – there is no further room for improvement
- Managers know exactly how to seek approval for a major decision or improvement
- Our planning process is short, sharp and effective, taking only a few weeks to complete
- When an initiative or business activity isn’t working, it is quickly improved or killed – we do not allow problems to fester
- We minimize the number of formal meetings and senior managers’ time is focused on delivering a great customer experience
- This is not a political organization. Everyone feels free to have their say, and we all feel that we’re on the same side.
So, how do you measure up? Compare your score to the ratings below:
Over 40: Complexity under control, for now. You’re highly effective and productive, but make sure that you stay alert to the creep of complexity
25-40: Creeping Complexity. If productivity isn’t suffering now, it soon will be. Identify your key priorities and target improvements in simplicity over the next 3 months.
Less than 25: Complexity Paralysis. Your organization has low productivity and is spinning its wheels. You need to work hard and fast to focus your efforts on driving greater simplicity immediately.
© Stuart Cross 2016. All rights reserved.