I have worked in many companies and find that, in many of them, senior managers make it a point to complicate issues. Some just cannot think straight. But most increase complexity in these four areas:
- Structure of the organisation. As companies grow, they keep adding more and more people to, directly or indirectly, do the same job! It is critical to ensure that the organisation is always lean (and mean)!
- Products. Extra SKUs and line extensions: These are the death wish for many. It beats me why managers feel that adding more SKUs or line extending brands will help; in some cases they do but they can be catastrophic in the long run.
I always remember Steve Jobs and what he did when he re-joined Apple in 1997. He found that Apple had a huge number of SKUs; for example, it had been producing multiple versions of the same product to satisfy requests from retailers. For instance, the company was selling a large number of variants of the Macintosh computer. The first thing he did was to reduce the number of Apple products by 70 percent and cut the workforce by 3,000. Keeping the number of products low paid off spectacularly in the quasi-long run.
- Processes. Another ailment that afflicts most organisations as they grow; they keep becoming more and more bureaucratic. This is an area every company should keep in check.
- Management Behaviour: Many leaders are so caught with strategic meetings, analysing data, hearing the latest consultant present magic solutions that they leave everyone very little time for tactical planning and execution.
Simplifying these four areas could yield immense benefits to any organisation.
Visual courtesy : https://www.flickr.com/photos/fdecomite/