Tackling organizational complexity with vision

Complexity is a curious phenomenon in any context.

More often than not, complexity has for its root an essential element- maybe a new system that has been implemented for a particular process. Only, the system is allowed to grow without check, which in turn leads to it getting bloated up. For an analogy you could think of someone introducing a species into a farm to kill off parasites, only to have this species growing so profusely that it ends up eating the crop.

A little far fetched though that analogy might be, the fact is that like our fictional species that harms the crop, unwanted complexity could harm a business.(Do not that while some complexities are inevitable, not all are harmful.) For one thing, it could delay a process from being carried off. If the process in question is  particularly urgent, then there’s no way that delay could be good news.

But tackling complexity remains a challenge, largely because leaders are confused about the kind of complexity that needs to be tackled.

Complexity is like waves that sometimes overwhelms the organization

Institutional vs Individual complexities

The first thing one needs to understand about organizational complexity is that it is of two kinds. One is complexity of an institutional nature while the other is the individual complexity that’s experienced by the employees.

Examples of the former include the particularly large number of brands a leader may be in charge of or the number of nations in which the organization functions in. Examples of individual complexity includes hazily defined roles and poor processes.

Most leaders when they think about complexity, think about institutional complexity. Perhaps, there’s nothing surprising about this since that’s the kind of complexity they tend to experience the most in an organization. But that’s not to say that it’s okay to get blindsided like this.

Individual complexity, if remained unchecked not only gives rise to disgruntled employees but also potential financial losses. After all, complexities often result in delays, and when time is money, delays are going to cost you.

In other words, tackling challenges could yield two benefits: improved effectiveness in how an organization functions and a workforce with better morale. To do that, you should do two things: remove any complexities that don’t bring any business value, and relegating the rest to those employees who are equipped to manage it.

Why vision is required for tackling complexity?

The principal issues in individual complexities include the following: 1) Lack of clear definition of role 2)Lack of clarity regarding accountability 3)Poor processes.

All these issues could be traced back to one root problem: the lack of a leader’s vision.

Your True Personal Vision is something that could only be discovered in your own self. A view of the future and an approach to shaping it that’s so unique that only you could possibly conceive it. In fact, conceiving is probably the wrong way to put it since True Personal Vision is something to be discovered within you and not conceived.

This discovery process is made hard thanks to the myriad distractions that day to day life brings you. A certain contemplative calm is required to arrive at the vision, backed by experienced guidance.

Realising the vision is like getting the clear image of what a picture puzzle should look like once all the pieces are in place. The pieces in question are the different processes and roles and the employees who fulfil those roles. Once the final picture is clear in your mind, it’s easy to understand which of these roles and processes are required and which could be termed as ‘unwanted complexity.”

Keeping with our jigsaw puzzle analogy, if the picture is that of the a beautiful bird, you can safely assume that something that looks like a gun would be unwanted complexity in the picture.

Discovering your vision with Temenos Vision Lab

Temenos Vision Lab or TVL is a unique session developed by Temenos+Agility that helps you discover your True Personal Vision and teams in organizations their compelling shared vision- a shared goal towards which they could move.

Backed by 25 years of business consultancy experience and incorporating psychological insights, TVL brings you some of the best leadership coaches in business to help guide you to your vision.

So that when complexity seems to be eating into your organization’s efficiency, you can tackle it, with eyes wide open, led by your vision.

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