How often have you found yourself asking “why is this so complicated?” I recently tried to close a bank account and payroll processor at the same time. What a horrible experience. Banking issues, system issues, communication issues; obstacles that kept me from giving and receiving good information. I had to spend way too much time, money and energy in what should have been a simple task. In the end, I was left frustrated and unfulfilled. We are so connected thru technology, yet so disconnected from one another.
Why is this? I believe partly because of our basic disconnectedness and partly because of the complexity of our systems. We’ve become so complicated, that there are layers of systems to move through in order to say a simple “Hello”. Think about what is needed to buy a car or home. To get insurance. To set-up a bank account or establish credit. Lots and lots of information. Lot’s of people to process that information. Lot’s of channels for distribution. Lots of procedures and protocols. What used to be simple task – with a clear channel to the decision maker – has become overwhelming in scale with layers and layers of people and stuff; complex, out of human scale and full of inefficiencies. We are told we must “do more with less”.
The problem with the “more with less” norm we see today in business, is the worker is expected to multi-task and be demand oriented. So we scale up in size, while the human infrastructure below it is stressed to it’s limits. Our job titles are many and varied but our quality of life in the workplace has become hectic and stressful.
I wonder about the issue of complexity and question why we don’t hear more about ways to scale down (not up). How do we do with less? It seems the whole idea of scaling down only applies to people and their personal stuff (i.e. minimalism). What about our work and the workplace?
How do we reduce complexity? How do we re-think our expectations? Here are a couple of thoughts on shifting this paradigm:
1. Focus more closely on the creative process. Don’t push creativity, but let it unravel, naturally.
2. Let our ideas “cook” longer, giving time to explore all possibilities.
3. Moving through different processes, fully experiencing what happens on a human (vs. technology) scale.
4. Giving people more time to be “one-track” minded.
5. Take more time to produce quality, while enjoying the process more completely. Allowing more elements to enter into the process.
6. Lastly, making decisions that are people-centric. Making the customer and employee experience a critical part of the output. No more upset customers. No more stressed out employees.
If we can only reconnect with these simple concepts, then perhaps we can move in a different direction – reducing the many levels of complexity, in order to better “ground” ourselves in what we’re doing and how that impacts on the big picture. We can refocus on our ability to relate and connect to one another.
Doing less, but better.