Simplicity-Minded Management

by Ron Ashkenas, Harvard Business Review, December 2007.

Harvard Business Review Managers are frequently frustrated by their organization's complexity. Yet very few have developed a strategy for simplification. Executives need to systematically attack the causes of complexity in their companies and we have worked with dozens of firms to help them develop strategies to do so. This article details the elements of a simplicity-minded strategy: Streamline the structure; prune products, services, and features; build disciplined processes; and improve managerial habits. It also shows how ConAgra CEO, Gary Rodkin, invested in a series of initiatives to combat complexity. The tactic not only made life easier for customers and employees but also saved millions of dollars in costs.

Explore Schaffer Consulting's online interactive questionnaire to help you assess your own company's level of complexity.

Also available in Spanish.

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