Why Is It So Hard To Be Simple?

Simplicity‘Simplicity’ as per the dictionary means–‘the quality or condition of being easy to understand or do.’

Which, in essence, means any task or activity that is easy to understand and do becomes a simple one.

Whilst this is a very simplistic statement, I’ve always wondered why organisations tie themselves up in knots in their operational processes. After all, the processes were developed in order to aid the activities of the executives. Instead, in many organisations, one notices the inordinate amount of time executives spend on undertaking specific processes. The end result is lack of effective outcome and huge wastage of time.

The larger the organisation, the more the processes. With this  bring in the organisational hierarchy, and the organisational culture and voila, we have the perfect recipe for a lot of action but no effect!

So can we look at keeping processes simple and ensure effectiveness?  Here’s  how to go about it:

1. Governance Structure: Review the governance structure  from the perspective of the key activities that the organisation does. These key activities should be based on the organisation’s long-term business plan. Review the various governance bodies that are in place in order to identify key people who should and need to be on these internal and external bodies. Finally have very clearly defined subject areas for the governance bodies to manage.

2.  Responsibilities for reporting to the Governance bodies: Once you have identified clearly defined subject areas for the governance bodies, you will be able to line up the specific functional areas of your organisation who would be the ‘responsible for’ department or unit in terms of the reporting process. For e.g. if you have a financial audit committee, as part of the governance bodies, and the subject area of the audit committee is to audit all financial dealings of the organisation above a certain threshold level, then the responsible department from the organisation in reporting would be the Finance department.

3. Reporting process & period: To ensure effectiveness, from both the responsible department as well as from the governance body, it is best to discuss the format of reporting and the frequency. This is best done by the specific functional department with the governance body members so that the reporting format and frequency aids the CEO’s office in decision-making.

With the above three steps in place, if there is a governance unit in the organisation, the same is then be responsible for ensuring that the reporting to the governance bodies is done and action items from those meetings are implemented.

The end benefit to the organisation in keeping processes and rules simple is this–  ensuring clarity!
By bringing clarity to the process at hand executives have the understanding of what exactly is needed to be done and how and when it needs to be done and this leads to the organisation being effective.