Do you feel like you’re losing control over your business? You’re not alone: It’s a common feeling that most entrepreneurs experience as their business grows. More customers amplifies any subtle flaws in workflows, more employees make communication much more difficult, and these problems can quickly spiral out of control and leave entrepreneurs feeling helpless. This can lead to unhappy founders, unmotivated employees, and stagnant growth.
The good news is that complexity isn’t always a bad thing and there are strategies that can help manage “good” complexity and eliminate “bad” complexity from your business. In this post, we’ll take a look at some strategies that I’ve used over the past 20 years to help companies like yours cope with complexity and ultimately make employees and owners happier in the process.
Complexity Isn’t Always a Bad Thing
Are you struggling to manage your growing business? Maybe you’ve added a new layer to your organizational structure, reporting lines have become blurred, and everyone from senior management to front-line salespeople are suddenly finding it harder to get work done. Or, perhaps you’ve found yourself spending too much time and resources doing things that don’t create value and you’ve instead only increased everyone’s stress levels.Complexity isn’t always a bad thing - the challenge is effectively managing it. Click To Tweet
The good news is that complexity isn’t always a bad thing – the challenge is effectively managing it. More customers, products, and employees inherently leads to more complexity, but these are “good” complexities that are necessary to grow your business. On the other hand, duplication of roles or frequent changes in an organizational structure are examples of “bad” complexities that only destroy value and should be eliminated as quickly as possible.
McKinsey & Company, a global consulting firm, found that managing complexity well created three major benefits for companies:
- Higher Returns – A study of over 1,150 senior executives at major companies found that those reporting low levels of complexity had the highest returns on capital employed and the highest returns on invested capital.
- Lower Costs – Four of five organizations that reduced complexity also reduced their costs, with some companies saving nearly 20% of personnel costs by eliminating activities that created complexity but added little value.
- Higher Satisfaction – One retailer cut the time it took to develop and approve new products by almost half, while reducing frustration experienced by product development and operational staff members at the same time.
The consulting firm recommends focusing on the issues that make it hard for employees to get things done and develop their ability to cope with the complexity in their roles. This means having clear roles, targets, and accountability as well as encouraging initiative and cooperation.
A Simple System to Manage Complexity
It’s easy to say that employees should have clear roles, targets, and accountability, but where do you start putting the advice into practice when you are already struggling day-to-day? And, what if you’ve already tried many “systems” unsuccessfully?
I have been in these shoes countless times throughout my career. Over the past 20 years, I have helped over 75 entrepreneurs successfully build and transform their companies across many different industries. There are many operating systems out there to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses, but some of them add “bad” complexity to your business and put barriers in the way of getting things done.
I have come to find the Entrepreneur Operating System – or EOS® – to be an effective way to rein in complexity. It strikes a perfect balance between theory and practicality, with a simple set of concepts and practical tools designed to help you get what you want out of your business. There’s no theory or management fads to learn – it’s just basic, helpful tools that can help you get more of the right things done each week.
EOS® is designed to ensure that everyone is onboard with your vision, put the right people in the right seats, hold employees accountable with unbiased data, address any issues that come up, document the way you run your business, and execute on the vision to make it a reality. As McKinsey & Company mentions in their study, it’s all about having clear roles, targets, and accountability for employees, while enabling easy communication throughout the organization. And that’s exactly what EOS® is designed to do without adding “bad” complexity.
If you’re not ready to dive into EOS®, you can start by taking a few simple steps to put your company on the right track:
- Define and Share Your Vision – You probably have a very clear idea of where you want your company to go, but it’s important to ensure that everyone in the organization is on the same page. Start by writing down your vision and defining the milestones along the way to achieving it. Then, share the vision in an all-hands meeting.
- Create an Accountability Chart – If you don’t already have an accountability chart, it’s imperative that you create one to define all of the roles in your organization. Every employee should have a clearly defined role and a “number” that can be used to quantitatively evaluate their performance.
- Identify Any Roadblocks Early – Create an “issues list” that compartmentalizes and prioritizes issues in an open and honest manner to ensure that they’re addressed and any barriers to growth are removed. These issues can also be discussed at regular weekly and quarterly meetings where progress is shared.
- Define Your Processes – Try to standardize your business processes by putting them into writing. These can be working documents that evolve over time, but it’s important that everyone follows the same processes and is held to the same standards.
By taking these steps, you can help manage the “good” complexity in your business and eliminate some of its “bad” complexity.
Where to Go From Here
There are many different ways to implement EOS® in your business to help manage complexity. The book Traction provides some of the basic tools and EOS® Worldwide provides online courses, but many companies find that working with an EOS® Implementer is the best option. EOS® Implementers are third parties that come into your business and help you implement EOS® with a valuable combination of objectivity and knowledge.
If you want to work with an EOS® Implementer, you should take the time to choose the person right for you.
Trajectory has over 20 years of experience helping over 75 companies grow revenue, increase profitability, and optimize entrepreneur happiness by effectively managing complexity. I can help you implement EOS® from the inside out, having “been there, done that” and walked miles in your shoes. Sign-up today for a free 30 minute consultation to discuss how we can work together.