Posts Tagged ‘complexity’

Of all the success principles I’ve described, this is probably my favourite. Why? Because we often like to complicate our lives, our plans, our businesses. Things get complicated and complex enough without exacerbating the problem. Military strategists and tacticians talk about ‘friction,’ which is the complication and complexity that arises naturally in any collective undertaking requiring more than one action.

Plans get muddled, assumptions prove incorrect, communications break down, and units get lost, just to name a few of the signs of friction. The same can apply in business, where just because you’ve issued your plans and direction, it does not necessarily follow that they will be executed to perfection. What are some of the ways to ensure simplicity in order to counter friction?

  • Have a clear vision and mission, with a clear hierarchy of goals and objectives.
  • Create clear lines of responsibility and accountability.
  • Ensure unity of command, that each person takes direction from only one superior, and not many.
  • To quote Albert Einstein, “Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.” In other words, don’t overdo it on the simplicity side.
  • Eschew multitasking. Try to do one thing at a time, but do it well.

These are just some of the ways to build simplicity. Remember that if you have a hard time understanding your plans, there’s a good chance that others will too.

© 2012 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted with full and proper attribution.