Resist Complexity That Brings No Tangible Benefit

Become absolutely ruthless in eliminating any and all time sucking activity that isn't absolutely required. (Excerpt from Unite The Tribes: Leadership Skills for Technology Managers)

Ancient Egyptians didn't have the massive amount of tangled conversations to cope with that those of us in the modern world have to slice through. There are some very practical reasons for this. If you wanted to distribute a new set of rules and regulations, you either had to painstakingly write them out on papyrus, one copy at a time, or perform a similar exercise with a chisel and a stone tablet. Either way, it was unlikely that you were going to overwhelm your people with a never ending series of complex instructions. They simply took too long to create.

Here in the modern world, you can click a couple of buttons and flood the entire planet with a never ending stream of instructions, each more complicated than the one before. If people get frustrated and annoyed, you don't even have to worry about them dropping a stone tablet on your foot. Consequently, the larger a company gets, the more forms, procedures and meetings the average person has to wade through.

Become absolutely ruthless in eliminating any and all paperwork, meetings, procedures and every other time sucking activity that isn't absolutely required. Take a look at each of these processes and see if you can draw a line from them to an actual monetary benefit to the company. If you can't, they go.

Of course, in your quest to eliminate complexity that brings no value, you're going to encounter resistance. Any set of rules, regulations or processes ultimately represents status and power for the person in charge. It's a part of their turf. They won't give it up willingly even if everyone else in the company wants to burn it in effigy.

At this point you have a political battle on your hands, and you should approach it accordingly. If you've ever tried to take a bone away from the dog that was gnawing on it, you'll have a good idea of what you're in for. Nonetheless, you can get nipped in the ankle or you can suffer the long, slow decline of a company strangled by its own red tape.

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