Six Simple Rules: How to Manage Complexity without Getting Complicated

Six Simple Rules: How to Manage Complexity without Getting Complicated

Six Simple Rules: How to Manage Complexity without Getting Complicated

Six Simple Rules: How to Manage Complexity without Getting Complicated


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New tools for managing complexity

Does your organization manage complexity by making things more complicated? If so, you are not alone.

According to The Boston Consulting Group’s fascinating Complexity Index, business complexity has increased sixfold during the past sixty years. And, all the while, organizational complicatedness—that is, the number of structures, processes, committees, decision-making forums, and systems—has increased by a whopping factor of thirty-five. In their attempt to respond to the increasingly complex performance requirements they face, company leaders have created an organizational labyrinth that makes it more and more difficult to improve productivity and to pursue innovation. It also disengages and demotivates the workforce.

Clearly it’s time for leaders to stop trying to manage complexity with their traditional tools and instead better leverage employees' intelligence. This book shows you how and explains the implications for designing and leading organizations.

The way to manage complexity, the authors argue, is neither with the hard solutions of another era nor with the soft solutions—such as team building and feel-good “people initiatives”—that often follow in their wake. Based on social sciences (notably economics, game theory, and organizational sociology) and The Boston Consulting Group’s work with more than five hundred companies in more than forty countries and in various industries, authors Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman recommend six simple rules to manage complexity without getting complicated.

Showing why the rules work and how to put them into practice, Morieux and Tollman give managers a much-needed tool to reinvigorate people in the face of seemingly endless complexity. Included are detailed examples from companies that have achieved a multiplicative effect on performance by using them.

It’s time to manage complexity better. Employ these six simple rules to foster autonomy and cooperation and to effectively handle business complexity. As a result, you will improve productivity, innovate more, reengage your workforce, and seize opportunities to create competitive advantage.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781422190555
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date: 04/01/2014
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 391,918
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Yves Morieux is a senior partner and managing director in the Washington, DC, office of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). He is a BCG Fellow and director of the BCG Institute for Organization.

Peter Tollman is a senior partner and managing director in BCG’s Boston office. He leads BCG's People and Organization practice in North America.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Managers Need the Six Simple Rules 1

1 Simple Rule One: Understand What Your People Do 25

2 Simple Rule Two: Reinforce Integrators 55

3 Simple Rule Three: Increase the Total Quantity of Power 85

4 Simple Rule Four: Increase Reciprocity 109

5 Simple Rule Five: Extend the Shadow of the Future 135

6 Simple Rule Six: Reward Those Who Cooperate 159

Conclusion 181

Notes 195

Index 207

Acknowledgments 217

About the Authors 219

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