Drivers of Business Complexity & Simplicity


Drivers of Complexity

This is a brief but by no means exhaustive summary of some of the drivers for increasing complexity in a business. These include but are not limited to:

  • Increasing customer choice through product proliferation
  • Pressure for diversification of products & customers
  • Many engineers, accountants and technologists (who love to work in complexity)
  • People creating complexity to secure their jobs & positions
  • Processes that people have been modifying for years without regard for the impact these changes have on the output
  • Information departments / systems seeking or delivering ever increasing detail just because they can!
  • Complex planning systems (or no planning systems)
  • Increasing compliance requirements
  • Belief that rigour equates to volume (e.g. of reports) when it comes to analysing, justifying and planning.

The drivers for simplifying a business have in the past generally only been exploited when the business is under intense pressure to improve performance i.e. when it is in trouble, as often occurs during economic downturns. It is a shame these drivers only appear in times of trouble rather than growth, for if they were a focus during good times then more businesses would perform well. Read more of this post

World Economic Forum:: New Models of Leadership–John Maeda


John Maeda is President of the Rhode Island School of Design and is a Member of the Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership.

As far as I can recall, I first came across the name of John Maeda from this beautifully succinct quote:

“Openness simplifies complexity”

A decent introduction to anyone, I think you’ll agree. Particularly when you have spent years trying to convey the need for and merits of TRANSPARENCY; the costs associated with AMBIGUITY and risks created by excessive COMPLEXITY.

John Maeda is President of the Rhode Island School of Design and is a Member of the Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership.

Discussions this year from the Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership culminated in a white paper, which describes a set of competencies for leaders in the 21st century. A central thesis of our work is the need for leaders to be agile in what are increasingly volatile and complex times.

Read more of this post

Moral Warfare:: a fight that the “pure of purpose” can win


OODA

OODA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I gather that “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu has, once again, become a popular read. If you have read it, this may come as no great surprise as it is fair to say that, despite some “iffy” translations prior to 1910, it has stood the test of time.

But, since beheading people to establish one’s authority is frowned-upon in these politically correct times(!?), I would recommend seeking out a latter-day “master strategist” by the name of John Boyd. You may have heard talk of AGILE BUSINESS [the embedded link is for anyone in insurance] and wondered “what the hell does that mean” or dismissed it as yet another creation of fee-hungry management or IT consultants!

But hold your horses…stick around and you might learn something that could serve you and your business VERY well indeed.

“Extraordinary” or as it should be?:: Leadership [Inc.com]


The best managers have a fundamentally different understanding of workplace, company, and team dynamics. See what they get right.

Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers … and even competitors.

“8 Core beliefs of extraordinary bosses”

crowd wisdom needs a new paradigm:: five characteristics of Paradigms


Uncertainty is apparent in every domain…because the realisation, that is gradually seeping into our consciousness, is that much of what we thought we knew…WE DON’T!

Clinging to “the past”, in the form of something that appears “familiar” or that has previously delivered a satisfactory outcome MAY feel like the right thing to do. But, if relying upon homogeneity is the preferred course isn’t that the equivalent of avoiding critical decisions and, merely, adding to uncertainty!?

… paradigms have five important characteristics and implications:

First, in periods of uncertainty, we search for a suitable paradigm that will satisfactorily mitigate the uncertainty (i.e., provide some certainty) and latch onto that paradigm as soon as it is discovered.

Second, because uncertainty leads to unpredictability, we are driven to locate a paradigm that can solve the problem.

Third, precedents or past actions or beliefs focus our attention toward certain solutions, which means we neglect perfectly acceptable paradigms. In organizations, one readily available source of information is to observe how others have dealt with the same issue.

Fourth, when we are uncertain, we imitate others as long as we find ourselves in a homogenous group or believe the other individual has an adequate paradigm to adopt.

Fifth, as long as the chosen paradigm is logically optimal, we continue pursuing a course of action that might be seriously flawed. Why would we pick a solution or course of action that was not the best? Human nature requires us to make some decision when faced with uncertainty. Therefore, an answer that allows us to take some action appears more desirable than inaction.

Underlying our choice of paradigm is our need to make a decision to allow us to continue to function.

via PERCEPTION AND PARADIGMS | PrMC.