What Are You Overcomplicating?

The business world is moving at a fast pace with technical advancements emerging that we never thought possible a decade ago. Sometimes it feels like everything is changing and that we need to change, too. 

Recently I caught myself thinking, “This is what we used to do” and even reminisced about the “good ole days.” I initially did not say it out loud because I thought it might stall progress or even sound old school. As I thought about it, I realized that the more things change, the more they stay the same. (Yes, I know that’s a cliché).

It can be valuable to revisit what has worked in the past. A great example where I see this play out is sales leadership. We see all the new contemporary tools and ideas and yet, at the core, the same levers apply.

Here’s what I am learning:

  • Simpler is usually better.
    In an effort to stay ahead and improve, we have a tendency to overcomplicate things. We add more structure and elements to try to drive better results. Yet, often times our best practices are things we’ve effectively done in the past. If we don’t understand the process and can’t explain it from beginning to end, that’s probably a red flag.
  • Don't complicate an already good practice.
    We can get creative with reward systems to try to motivate certain behaviors. Ultimately, it can get cumbersome and complicated and work against you. We can waste time and energy trying to be clever or innovative when perhaps we already have a good practice. Don’t overcomplicate it.
  • More is not better.
    Often we think the answer to increasing sales is to give a salesperson more to sell or a bigger territory. But one person can only do so much. Focused efforts actually lead to better results. When we dilute the work, we lose our effectiveness.

How has your organization made it harder than it needs to be? We all have work to do in this area. We set too lofty of goals, add too many steps to a process or bring in too many people for a task. 

A colleague of mine uses the term “easier to buy, easier to sell and easier to manage.” This is good advice, but hard to do. Effective leaders take out the complexity so their people and their organization can perform better. What will you unravel this week?


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Topics: Innovation, productivity, Leadership Team