I just met with a former colleague who explained that one of objectives of his role was in simplifying the complex.
We explored that concept a little further and agreed that sometimes simplicity is not really the desired outcome. In fact, some organizations are just plain complex. How do you distil the manufacturing processes of an aerospace manufacturer?
Maybe ‘simplifying the complex’ is not the desired outcome, but rather ‘clarifying the complex’ is.
Clarity occurs when the ‘signal-to-noise’ ratio increases substantially and a sense of purpose and engagement overcomes a sense of overwhelming process and work.
When my friend explained that the overall raison d’être of his organization comes down to two things, fixing people and fixing cars, he was not simplifying their understandably complex business, but rather clarifying it’s mission. Who can’t identify with that?
I think then that before establishing more complex notions of alignment and engagement in your business, first seek to clarify it without suggesting it is ‘simple’.