The level of complexity in most organizations today is staggering - and it's only getting worse. There are so many choices to be made, people to involve, processes to manage, and facts to analyze, it's impossible to get things done. And in today's hypercompetitive world, that can be fatal. Yet complexity doesn't happen on its own. Managers unwittingly create it, often through well-intended decisions. In Simply Effective, Ron Ashkenas provides a playbook for regaining control, focused on the four major causes of complexity.
Most innovation teams inside large companies are set up to operate like well-oiled machines. They move in a specified direction at a predictable speed. Since the early 1900s, this model has been the prevailing paradigm for how organizations are designed and run.
The problem is that while this approach enables large-scale production, it doesn’t seem to work for innovation. Over the past several years, we have compared successful and unsuccessful innovation teams in a dozen global organizations. One of our key findings was that teams functioning more like machines - blindly following highly defined processes and execution plans - were the least effective at achieving their goals and coming up with innovations.
How mergers and acquisitions can present unique opportunities to develop leaders – and how to avoid letting the next deal slip through your fingers.
You'll hear how simplicity is no longer a nice-to-have virtue - it's an imperative for bottom-line success. From the December 2007 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Let me begin this post with a personal confession: Although I’ve talked with many managers about career transitions over the years, I’ve never had a career transition myself until now. For the past 37 years I’ve worked as a management consultant at the same firm I started in straight out of graduate school. I went from junior associate to partner to managing partner and eventually to senior partner. But several years ago, I started thinking about what comes next, and when next should come.
Many of us are familiar with the concept of Getting to Yes, an iconic negotiation strategy developed by Harvard professor Roger Fisher and others.