Self Inflicted Complexity

If yesterday’s post on timing pulled you up short, and maybe left you feeling a little awkward as you reflected and thought, ‘yeah – I do some of that dumb stuff’, then there is a real danger you wont like todays post much at all. If that is the case, I apologise in advance for what you are about to read.

Self Inflicted Complexity

Rick King¬†gave a short talk at the opening of the latest Thomson Reuters unconference I facilitated. He recognised that in order to be more effective, we have to learn to simplify. The general buzz in the room indicated to me that a lot of the audience felt he was right. Then Rick landed a killer question, and it’s one I want to share with you today. He asked,

So how much of your complexity is self inflicted?

You could have heard a pin drop. It’s a fantastic question – one that requires us to front up and be really honest with ourselves. It’s a tough one to answer. Our job is a big part of what we do, it is key to what defines us, and over the years I have observed many people convolute, layer, and stretch tasks and activity way beyond what is necessary to get the job done well.

Leaders need to be critically aware of the tendency to over complicate within themselves. It has a corrosive effect on trust and leads to lots of ineffective, unhelpful behaviour. When you trace a lot of ‘cover your ass’ type activity back along the line, you frequently find the fear that drives CYA is borne out of a lack of understanding amplified by people’s self inflicted complexity. Over complicating stuff doesn’t make you smart, it makes you the A in CYA.

So – how much of your complexity is self inflicted?