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March 26, 2012

The hole-y road to simplicity

Posted by Pravin Rao U. B. (View Profile | View All Posts) at 11:20 AM


As I drove home one evening, I observed something not unfamiliar to those of us who've lived in this part of the world. The road had been asphalted a few weeks ago. The rains had already caused some damage and what should have been new was already pockmarked with potholes that were unmerciful to an unsuspecting driver. These potholes had been covered up to make the road look like a patchwork blanket. What made matters more interesting was that the local utility company had decided they needed to lay some more pipes, and so had gotten to work - furiously tearing apart parts of the road that were unblemished... I thought to myself that this fractured order isn't very different from the way many businesses are run today. While insufficient information is creating fissures in operations, an uncertain environment and unresponsive systems are making the mess, messier... Too many variables, too many stakeholders - all striving towards different goals, all on different pages!

A confounding web of complexity has found its way into the simplest of things in business today and there is no running away from this new order. However, unless we find a smarter way of running our organizations, we face the risk of becoming obsolete. A lack of focus, non-collaborative efforts, layered-beyond-belief structures, inflexible processes - and these compounded across geographies, locations, cultures and systems are just some of the factors that are contributing to a recipe for absolute chaos.

In this context, building a smart organization that evolves to simplify itself - a living organization, is the only way to remain relevant and profitable. But like most everything worth having, this takes work as well - and brings with it a whole host of challenges. And there is no  one-size-fits-all solution. Even so, our tried and tested formula, is this - Scale up - no, I don't advise making a large organization larger... But this: Simplify. Collaborate. Adapt. Learn.

Over the past years, I've been closely involved helping clients solve their business challenges. What worked, what didn't, what might work for the future, has made it all an interesting journey towards discovering simpler, more efficient ways of doing business...

In the meantime, here's to a smoother drive...onwards!

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