An Ode to Simplicity! Premium

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Frameworks and procedures are overshadowing strategy; management practices are alienating the workforce; product and service offers are overwhelming both customers and sales teams… So STOP! How about bringing a welcome dose of simplicity into your organization?

Complexity in your working environment compromises your efficiency!

Does that mean you are doomed? Not if you realize that you are the one actually creating the majority of performance-hindering complications. Simply Effective author Ron Ashkenas suggests boosting efficiency by thinking simply:

1. Strategy First, Organization Second

“Companies are complex because managers get carried away by structure instead of adapting operational processes to business strategy,” says Ashkenas. Putting the spotlight on strategy and stressing that organizational schemes are meant to support it will enable business managers to (simply!) reclaim the flexibility they need.

2. The Four Simplicity-Building Management Behaviors

1. Participative management. Have the team define its missions and objectives itself and learn how to celebrate quick wins !
2. Autonomy: Provide direction without defining exactly how to reach the goal
3. Presence. Granting autonomy does not mean being uninvolved. Set specific goals to reduce confusion and foster confidence
4. Real communication. Enough PowerPoint—use meetings as times to talk with people!

3. Simplifying the Customer Offerings

Simplification needs to be carried through all the way to products and services. The challenge is to prevent excessive growth and to (finally) figure out what consumers really want.

In conclusion, fighting complexity takes strong leadership commitment and action that will trickle down through the organization. A good place to start would be to post the following reminder: “Keep it Simple!”

4. What They Think, What They Did

Testimonies from an investment bank and a packaged foods company that have impressive track records for staying alert to growth opportunities: in this in-depth dossier, Alexandre Mironesco, managing director at Banco Santander, and Jeff Mochal, director of Communications and External Relations at ConAgra Foods, tell you about the impact on their respective businesses of deploying a culture of simplicity.

Read our Dossier
Reconnecting with simplicity

Business Digest no. 219, September 2011.

A synthesis of several publications, accompanied by interviews with Alexandre Mironesco, managing director, Banco Santander and Jeff Mochal, director of communications and external relations, ConAgra Foods, September 2011.