Do you complify instead of simplify?

At Palette we have a promise (to our clients and ourselves) that our relationships and work will be based on three pillars: simplicity, energy and integrity.

It’s at the heart of everything we do.

But lately I’ve noticed that for some people and organizations simplicity has (simply) gone awry.

And instead of making life easier, we make things more complex: we complify.

Here’s what I mean. In the course of a workday, you notice something you’re doing is cumbersome and has too many pointless steps. You think, we should come up with a way to fix this.

But instead of cutting through the crap, egos get involved. And then an old process is replaced by a newer process, a few extra levels are added (in the spirit of collaboration, of course) and all of a sudden something that wasn’t working very well to begin with (the devil you know) has been transformed into something that doesn’t work at all.

Congratulations. You’ve just been complifed.

So how can we avoid getting into this trap?

Here are three (simple) steps:
1. Ask yourself if an improvement is truly needed and if so, will people buy in.
2. Strip down the activity to its base elements, assume nothing is sacred and cut, cut, cut. (Pretend CTL-V does not exist.)
3. If your solution involves more than a couple of moving parts…abort! Remember what you’re goal is.

Sounds simple? Sure. But I can tell you in no time, it wouldn’t be hard to add a few more steps to this plan and complify.

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2 thoughts on “Do you complify instead of simplify?

  1. Too true! As Henry David Thoreau said "Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify." Ego is the culprit here. True simplification usually involves deleting a few voices from the process and that is very difficult for people to accept.

  2. This is so very true Martin and especially the part about ego getting in the way. It also seems that sometime employers want to be sure everyone feels involved as well. Approvals and process by committee make like very complified as well.

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