How companies can master business complexities through simplification

Wish versus reality - ways of problem solving / solution finding

Simplifying Business entails holistic efforts and by involving all participating stakeholders of the ecosystem, firms can succeed in reducing the complexity of their functional procedures and operational mechanisms.

With blurring boundaries, progressive globalisation, and evolving technologies, the business world today has transformed into a complex web of conflicting choices. While firms are struggling to make decisions amidst the breakneck speed of innovations, tightening norms are weighing in to make things further difficult than ever before. No wonder, the overall complexity has multiplied with most surveys of C-suite employees finding the theme of Complexity as one of the most prominent challenges faced by them across industries.

While recognizing complexity as a business challenge is one thing, mastering it through a simplification strategy is another one. Especially for managers who are overloaded, stressed out, and struggling to meet deadlines, doing something to solve the problem of business complexity is indeed a tough task. The precarious nature of business complexity is such that it precludes any efforts aimed at simplifying it and rather tricks the employees into feeling that they don’t have enough time and resources to solve it. However, it should be not the case with your company as we give you a lowdown of tried and tested strategies that help you to master the complexity through the amazing power of simplification. Read on to know how to nail complexity through business simplification:

1) Clear Hiccups: An effective starting point to simplify business is to clear all functional and operational hiccups that bring nothing but latency and complexity to work. Surprisingly, these value-dragging activities exist in abundance and continue to run owing to the presence of legacy systems and corrosive culture in firms. Analyze, for instance, how many people are required to sign off on bills, how many times executives need to report to supervisors, or how many revisions sales pitches need before getting a nod for final presentations. By shedding these types of unnecessary tasks, you can easily free up the headroom to focus on more substantial work.

2) Infuse fresh perspective: The real worth of simplification drive lies in its ability to add value to customers’ lives. In other words, the simplification of business must be driven by customer orientation and remember, you need to count the importance of internal customers (employees) as much as you devote attention to external ones. Further, the human resource department can focus on Infusing fresh talent from across industries as hiring people from different business domains can help to bring a fresher perspective to the table.

3) Analyze Priorities and Implement Swiftly: One of the significant measures to simplify the business is to continually analyse priority areas and keep assessing critical processes to decongest them regularly. To achieve effective results on decongestion, top management must devise frameworks to weed out complexities and implement simplification mechanisms quickly to change the status quo as soon as possible. The swift implementation should be then followed by a cycle of control and review so that loopholes in procedures to simplify business processes can be plugged in with the desired accuracy.

4) Cut Hierarchy and widen span: Widening spans by cutting through the existing hierarchy can do wonders to reduce the complexity and simplify the business processes. A strict hierarchical structure in many firms is the outcome of their legacy systems. Further, the tendency of top management to achieve better control through the addition of more layers could further complex the situation. Further, higher levels of hierarchy leave managers with only a few executives, thereby forcing them to micromanage the work of their subordinates. This, in turn, will cause latency and unnecessary complexity in the work procedures. To steer clear of such an undesirable situation, the firm’s top leadership should take periodic stock of the structural hierarchy and deliberate to reduce levels by widening the span of the authority of managers.

5) Encourage Speaking Up: Many firms are never able to reduce complexity owing to their close culture that dissuades people from speaking up against wrong and inefficient procedures. In such a constricted environment, employees remain passive and avoid ruffling feathers fearing the undesirable consequences and repercussions of their taking a stand. To quell this propensity, top management should take constructive steps and help in the creation of an open culture where employees can speak up their minds without any fear. Further, companies can offer rewards/incentives to those who identify unproductive practices and help management replace them with efficient procedures.

In today’s fast-changing environment, it is absolutely essential to keep businesses simple, straightforward and value-oriented. This can be achieved through a dedicated simplification strategy that will help businesses to reduce complexity by keeping inefficient and unproductive procedures at bay. The benefits of simplifying business are very much apparent and by creating a win-win situation for all the stakeholders in the business ecosystem, simplification can lead to greater market share and customer satisfaction. Remember, the top management of a firm should throw all its support behind a simplification strategy and strive to create a culture of open communication to get the best results out of it.




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