What separates the human species from others is that we have a strong desire to create, compete and change.
For organizations, change is the catalyst to progress and growth, but often comes with a hidden cost. Complexity.
If left unfettered, complexity can create organization dissonance, employee churn, and missed opportunities.
A recent Leaders 2020 study conducted by Knowledge@Wharton validated this observation. More than 2/3rds of respondents cited reducing complexity as strategically important to the future of their business. Yet, less than 1/5th felt like their simplification initiatives were being successful.
A new 3-part Future of Work series developed by Simplicity Consulting in collaboration with SAP uncovered that the Simplification begins with Leadership.
In other words, complexity is first a human problem before it ever became a quantitative, process or a technology problem.
In particular, top executives play a crucial role of becoming “Great Simplifiers” in setting the tone of the organization towards a common simplification DNA.
According to the study, Great Simplifiers exemplify 5 specific distinct behaviors which they use consistently o shift the culture of their organizations:
- Focus – prioritizing the truly impactful and reducing the noise.
- Clarity – communicating an inspirational, challenging but achievable vision
- Collaboration – explicitly and proactively rewarding teamwork
- Courage – making the tough decisions to reduce scope creep
- Pragmatism – understanding that perfection can occasionally be the enemy of simplification
By integrating these 5 behaviors, Great Simplifiers make simplicity come alive within the leadership team as well as the greater organization.
Follow-up activities continuously reinforce the message. Among others, these activities include Leadership Ideas Exchange, building Simplicity behaviors into feedback and review processes, setting departmental complexity targets, and clearly measuring what gets done in order to stay the course.
For more on what you can do to lead simplification, check out the 3 part report from SAP and Simplicity Consulting: