Today’s world is far more complex than that of just a few decades ago, and it is becoming increasingly more so each year. Ongoing technological innovation creates a need for organizations to rapidly and continuously adapt both to technology itself and to the social, economic, and environmental changes it engenders.
This continually increasing complexity drives organizations to seek effective ways to scale and expand their global reach, as well as to continually improve quality and speed to market. At the same time, an ever increasing need for organizations to offer customized solutions to specific local needs can make growth and productivity difficult to achieve and sustain.
When More Is Less
A natural response to this hyper-complexity is for organizations themselves to become more and more complex. Over time, attempts to deal with even small changes and demands can add up, resulting in increasingly convoluted organizational structures, processes, and interdependencies.
However, fighting complexity with more complexity rarely brings the intended results. Hyper-complexity creates inefficiencies that hinder an organization’s ability to compete successfully. We have found that the most successful organizations are those that are able to cut through the complexity and streamline their structures and processes to prioritize the most important goals and focus resources on the most strategic work.
Making the Cut
Battling organizational complexity is a challenging endeavor. It is easy to say, “We are going to minimize complexity in this organization,” but when faced with a tangle of interdependent structures and processes that have developed organically over the course of months or years, even experienced leaders can sometimes struggle to figure out how best to proceed.
A good place to start is by sitting down and taking stock of the complexity issue itself. Leaders interested in streamlining their organizations should ask themselves the following questions:
- What are the causes of organizational complexity?
- What are the consequences for my organization?
- What tools, techniques, and frameworks are available to help reduce complexity in my organization?
- How have other organizations implemented complexity-reducing practices to enhance productivity and increase speed?
Just as pruning an apple tree stimulates it to yield the highest quality and quantity of fruit, reducing the complexity of an organization helps it reach its highest productive potential. Minimizing organizational complexity is critical to staying resilient and competitive in today’s market.
Join Us for a Free Webinar on Reducing Complexity in Global Organizations
On February 15, 2019, AlignOrg Solutions’ Principal & Managing Director, Reed Deshler, will be hosting a complimentary webinar, entitled Overcoming the Hyper-Complexity of Today’s Global Organizations. The webinar outlines the causes and consequences of organizational complexity, and highlights solutions that will let executives and practitioners focus resources on the work that will drive results.