The Complexity Conspiracy
In today's business world, we marvel at simple designs, search for simple solutions, and remove jargon to share simple messages.
In today’s business world, we marvel at simple designs, search for simple solutions, and remove jargon to share simple messages. Unfortunately, many forces conspire to add layers of complexity in design, solution, and message. How do you battle against those forces of complexity? Our goal is simply to help you simplify.
These words that end with “tion” fuel many business seminars, blogs, and books. Focused on these terms, thought leaders have produced plenty of ideas and discussions. These ideas have inspired organizations to navigate the complexities of the modern business world. However, the multitude of ideas associated with these concepts has contributed to a sinister word that ends in “sion” – confusion.
The challenge of any leader is to move an organization forward by unraveling the forces of confusion and complexity. Simply put – simplify. Many forces conspire to increase complexity – especially in the IT world.
- Security risk forces intruder prevention but inhibits collaboration between business allies
- Tools compile and store terabytes of data, but retrieval and analytic constraints reduce the data to buried files
- Implementing enterprise-level solutions moves the business forward, but often leads to frustration and unmet expectations
There is more to life than increasing its speed.” —Mahatma Ghandi
The word “simplify” is easy to say. Yet, like most powerful concepts, simplify is simply hard to do. As an effective tool for focusing on what will impact an organization the most, Tom Peters shares the concept of the “To Don’t List.” It takes courage and confidence to believe one powerful contribution is enough to secure our organizational position. We often attempt to prove our value by adding more ideas that entangle our organizations into knots of complexity.
Look at the following “tion” words with a fresh perspective:
- Innovation moves from seminar notes lost in file archives to valuable activity – forcing teams to innovate
- Collaboration works when individuals break down barriers and silos to collaborate
- Execution challenges are overcome when everyone takes personal ownership in viewing tasks as an opportunity to execute
- Transformation occurs when we break away from accepted policies and practices – leading to new ways of thinking that transform lives
In other words, we view all these “tion” words from the perspective of another tion” word – action. Through action, we learn lessons of what to do and what not to do. We realize we need input from others. We progress toward vision and build momentum toward achieving the organizational purpose. Through action, we stop fretting about problems and focus on solving problems.
“A person of courage flees forward in the midst of new things.”—Jacques Maritain
In Fast Company’s February 2012 edition, the cover story highlighted “The Secrets of Generation Flux.” The article explored traits of individuals equipped to succeed in the chaos of our modern business world. It profiled individuals ranging in age from 26 to 63 who are embracing tools and attitudes to navigate tremendous waves of change. Conquering business challenges will give way to adapting to forces that change the business landscape. Everybody needs to participate as traditional hierarchical organizations are stripped of irrelevant structures that do not drive agility or promote tangible results.
“All is flux, nothing stands still.” —Heraclitus
That same edition also presented an article, “The Four Year Career,” that profiled individual’s age 26-61 who embrace the shifting job market by applying their talents to corporate and non-profit organizations. Their career map is filled with job projects instead of corporate titles. To keep their skills sharp and interest high, they leverage short term assignments. These assignments progress them toward contributions that align with their personal vision. These individuals thrive in a business culture that rewards talent and contribution with opportunity.
Human history has shown tremendous creative prowess concentrated in specific areas:
- Intellectual talent in Athens’ philosophical schools
- Artistic talent in Renaissance Florence
- Scientific talent in post-WWI Austria
- Technology talent in Silicon Valley
“The great ages did not contain more talent. They wasted less.” —T.S. Elliot
Whn talent leveraged their network and available technology, amazing advances took place that shaped he intellectual landscape until the next radical culture shift. In today’s world, there are no longer geographic constraints for that concentration of talent. With the consumerism of technology, we have the opportunity to participate in a transformational age. Those who waste less energy worrying about the future will grow their talent and tap into the rising level of their team’s talent.
“All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.” —Ellen Glasgow
Some will succumb to the choices that technology fosters. Others will realize that technology can simplify things by breaking down artificial barriers. Ideas fuel the action that will transform the business. Analysis will assist in evaluating success or failure. History aids in that analysis. However, future success depends on those who take action to meet the next challenge. Moving and adapting will lead us through today’s challenges toward tomorrow’s promises. Opportunity Information will continue to overwhelm business.
We must work together to sift through that information and discover relevant data points – collaborate. We must apply those relevant data points to produce something of value – innovate. We must stay focused on the goal and diligently avoid distractions – execute. We must evaluate all factors to ensure we’re changing ourselves and the organization to solve real problems – transform. When we battle through challenges, the risk of failure is great. When we strive to find a perfect solution, we risk more. That risk is reduced when we take the next step – and the next. Our opportunity is simply to take action. Learn from that activity … and take action.
As a follow-up to this article, the author, Todd Radke, recommends these books:
Collaboration – How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results
By Morten T. Hansen
“Discover how collaboration for its own sake is often counterproductive, while ‘disciplined collaboration’ is what consistently leads to the best results.”
Execution – The Discipline of Getting Things Done
By Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
“Learn the building blocks of getting things done from two of the most accomplished and acclaimed CEOs in the country.”