Leap Year Lesson #165: Keep Simple Processes Simple

Posted: June 18, 2012 in Business Processes
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I am regularly reminded of how easy it is for large corporations to turn simple processes into complex ones.  Today was a frustrating example of that as a wrench was thrown into what had been a simple, straightforward process for the last two years.

With too little notice to carry out a task already planned, scheduled and announced, I was informed that we now had to go through a far more involved process that required multiple layers of paperwork and approvals – none of which has been necessary in the past two years of me performing this task numerous times.

What was accomplished by the new rules?  Only the delay of the task to another day and more people spending time at it than is necessary.

Ideally, I would respond by championing some initiative to get the process changed back to the simple, quick, effective process I’ve used the past two years.  But having no real authority to mandate change in the position I’m in, and having no desire to waste time beating my head against a wall of red tape, what I’ll do is abide by the new, convoluted, unnecessary process and calculate that waste of time into future occasions when this process needs to happen again.

Some may see that as timidly caving in, but I think it’s just choosing my battles wisely.  Where is my effort best placed?  On fighting this change in a process or in getting the projects and initiatives complete that I’m charged with getting done?

Time is a precious commodity at work.  Those who care about efficiency (like me) have a low tolerance level for unnecessary complexity.  It’s a shame that organizations allow “complexity creep” to happen to the detriment of getting work done.  Oh, for leaders that keep an eye out for such issues and who use their authority to keep things simple.

Leap year lesson #165 is Keep simple processes simple.

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