Change Implementation Techniques for Laying a Foundation for New Ways

Technique 1.62 What's Your Organization's Complexity Quotient?

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Introduction

The quiz below can help you gauge your own organization's complexity. If your score looks alarmingly high, start developing your own strategy of simplicity. If your score suggests that you have complexity under control, give yourself a pat on the back ‐ but don't rest for long. The forces of complexity are constantly at work, and their effects cold creep into your business at any time.

Questions

1. How easily can you draw a picture of your organization's structure the major business units, functions, and geographies?

A

It's simple and straightforward

B

It takes a little explanation

C

It would need a computer aided‐design program

2.. How many organizational layers are there between the CEO and first‐line workers?

A

Seven or fewer

B

Eight to ten

C

More than ten

3. How many committees or councils do you have that either review or make significant business decisions?

A

Five or fewer

B

Six to ten

C

More than ten

4. How many products and services does your organization offer?

A

A manageable number

B

A few more than we need

C

Way too many

5. If you could streamline your company's product or service lines without reducing profitability, how many would you eliminate?

A

Just a few

B

About 15%

C

About 25%

6. How many months does it take for your organization to create its budget for the next fiscal year?

A

Less than two months

B

Two to four months

C

About 25%

7. How long does it take for your finance department to officially "close" the books at the end of each reporting period?

A

Less than one week

B

One to three weeks

C

Three weeks to forever

8. How many people do potential senior hires need to meet in your organization before offers are extended?

A

Just a few

B

Four to eight

C

Almost everyone


9. To what extent can employees clearly and accurately describe the strategy of your firm?

A

Everyone can do it

B

Many can describe the strategy

C

Not too many can describe it well

10. To what extent do you retire old products or features when new products or features are introduced?

A

This is our regular practice

B

We do it some of the time

C

We rarely think about doing this

11. How much time do your senior managers spend in meetings?

A

Less than 25% of their time

B

About half their time

C

Most of their time

12. If you personally were given the power to reorganize your company (or your part of it) and you had an incentive to improve productivity at the same time, what is the minimum number of people you would need compared with what you have now?

A

100% of the current head count

B

About 85% of the current staff

C

75% or less of the current staff

13. Whenever you need to get approval for a capital expense or policy modification, how clear are you about how to make it happen?

A

I know exactly how to make it happen

B

I have a reasonable idea of what to do

C

I'm not really sure how to go about it

14. When a dispute arises between functions or departments, or with a customer, how quickly is it resolved?

A

Right away

B

Within a week

C

Seems as if it drags on forever

15. If the unnecessary complexity in your company was eliminated, how much of an increase in productivity might be possible?

A

None

B

Some

C

A great deal

SCORING: Give one point for every A answer, two points for every B, three points for every C, and then total them up. Then see where you fall on the scale below.

15‐25: Normal complexity

You're in good shape ‐ maintain vigilance.

26‐35: Creeping complexity

You're heading for trouble ‐ start working on simplification

36‐45: Too much complexity

Your productivity is suffering ‐ focus hard on simplification

(source: David J Snowden 2007)


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