Who understands your guidance?

Clear signs on the topRunning an organization requires guidance in the form of core values, clear strategies, and well-defined processes.

Most leaders ignore the negative impact of overly complex guidance on the organization’s performance.

Good and effective guidance must be simple, even if the related tools, devices, or processes are complex. Complicated guidance, in contrast, ruins the value of even the best product or the most efficient process.

Strategy outlines of more than fifty pages, process documentation binders that get dusty on the office shelves (or on the file server), or cluttered user instructions are examples for too complex guidance. 

Not really easy to understandHiking is another good example. It can be as simple as in Switzerland, where a system of clear and standardized markers always indicates where you should walk. Such a system is easy to understand and follow, even if you hardly see the trail. Not so in some national parks in Canada: The hiking signs are so complex that a dedicated explanation table at the park entry needs to be studied to understand them.

In all cases, the intention is the same: Provide clear guidance. One is easy to follow; the other is not. One creates clarity; the other seeds confusion. One is easy to produce; the other requires high effort.

Look at your organization: How simple is your and the other leaders’ guidance?

How easy to understand and to follow are the instructions? How confusing are they to the employees? How much effort is needed to maintain them? 

Cluttered guidance is one of the most ignored productivity potentials of organizations. It’s time to look at it.


This post is from our Friday noon memo #105. Interested in regular updates? Sign up here.
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