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"Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains."
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
Business growth and evolution is a desired outcome of successful businesses. Structures evolve, new technologies are introduced, regulations and compliance requirements change, and business processes are adjusted accordingly. However, an undesirable outcome of evolution can be fragmentation and complexity that hinders efficiency, productivity and profitability.
From our observations, complexity evolves due to dysfunctional structures, business complacency, poorly implemented technologies, or where there is limited business process automation. The complexity occurs because practices are supplemented with additional layers of resources, technologies and business processes rather than purposefully re-designed. Complexity can also be introduced as a result of indolent thinking post the formative stages of organisational change. Too often innovative strategies are laden with unnecessary complexity during business transformation projects as introducing simplicity often becomes an after-thought.
Simplifying complexity leads to healthier organisations that continuously deliver greater client value, can adapt to industry changes and enjoy well-deserved prosperity. Promoting and adopting simplicity requires a cultural shift to encourage individuals and teams to understand the value in simplicity, to learn how to adapt to new ways of thinking and to become resilient to organisational change. This often requires a combination of strong leadership, fresh-thinking internal resources and external specialists, who are strategically focused, can define the objectives introducing simplicity and will remain engaged throughout the journey.
To introduce simplicity, organisations should view their current state through an unbiased and objective lens so that more efficient ways of doing business can be identified. And if the long-term benefits that simplicity creates have not significantly outweighed your investment, then there is more organisational complexity to simplify.
If you need some help with simplifying your firm’s unnecessary complexity, why not get in touch.
Robert Wagner, Managing Partner, Harriss Wagner Consultants and Advisers