As leaders our goal is to simplify the work of our organisations, and the simpler we can make it the more successful we will be.
Tony Robins says that “Complexity is the enemy of execution” and this is the attitude we have to take, we have to see couplexity as an enemy that needs to be defeated.
Here are three things that we can do to reduce complexity:
My favourite approach to reducing complexity is to eliminate any tasks that are necessary, and I am sure you’re thinking but we don’t have any unnecessary tasks or process. But let me just say, that in every company I have ever worked, there has always been unnecessary bureaucracy, processes that people are just following without question which add little to no value.
These are the processes that need to be eliminated. We have to be ruthless, we have to challenge everything. Even more importantly as leaders, we need to make sure we are not increasing complexity by adding unnecessary processes, meetings or reporting, as these just steal time from the productive work that we need to get done.
Elimination is the most cost effective way of reducing complexity, because it means we no longer need to do that work. Whatever we cannot eliminate we need to look to automate.
What I love about automation is that it’s a doubled edged sword. Firstly we cannot automate complexity, so it forces us to simplify processes before we can automate them. Secondly once we automotive free’s up our staff to work on more important tasks and it usually has a cost benefit associated with it.
Whatever we cannot automate we should then look to delegate.
Complexity comes in many shapes and sizes. Sometime complexity just comes from the sheer volume of work that we have to deal with, and we need to look to hand off as much as the commodity work as possible. We need to make sure that we have the right resources doing the right job.
At several companies were I have worked they had cut down on administrative staff in order to save money. But now we have managers booking their own meeting rooms, organising their own travel and scheduling their own meetings. Given that this is not their primary skill, it will not not only take them longer it takes them away form the real work that we need them to do. It’s a false economy, because we have actually now increased the cost of admin work, as managers are paid more handsomely.
Look to delegate any work down the chain that can be delegated and have the right people focused on the right job.
The more tasks that we can eliminate automate or delegate the more complexity we can reduce which will help increase both our effectiveness and efficiency, and allow us to achieve better results.
What are you going to do to reduce complexity?
What tasks can you eliminate, automate or delegate?