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Business growth and evolution is a desired and expected outcome for successful businesses. Structures evolve, technologies are continuously introduced, regulations and compliance change, and business processes are adjusted accordingly. A consequence of this evolution can include fragmentation and complexity that hinders efficiency, productivity and profitability. So how does this occur?
From our observations, complexity becomes evident where there are hierarchical and dysfunctional structures, business complacency, poorly implemented technologies with no integration to core business systems, or where there is limited or no automation in business processes. This state typically evolves as practices are supplemented with layers of resources, technologies and business processes.
Complexity can also be introduced as a result of indolent thinking post the formative stage of organisational change. Too often innovative and intelligent strategies are laden with unnecessary complexity as the change moves through the execution or support stages with change management initiatives being 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. After all, the only constant today is change. This often requires a combination of strong leadership, new recruits and external professionals, who are strategy focussed, define the objective of the transformation and keep it in focus.
To design and implement simplicity, organisations need to view their current state through an unbiased and objective lens to ensure more efficient ways of doing business can be realised. Simplifying complexity based on the level of maturity in law firms today is challenging and time consuming to achieve, and paradoxically to some, this may appear to be an unnecessary cost. What can be overlooked with this belief are the longer-term benefits that simplicity provides, significantly outweighing the investment.