MTI Strategic Reflections

Simplifying management processes

Managing a business is essentially a simple process – ask any successful owner of a small merchant business. At the root of their business are a few products and services that serve as their core focus. This is generally supplemented by a rudimentary form of bookkeeping and minor promotional activities that usually involve leaflet distribution, inexpensive advertisements on local newspapers, or more importantly, by word of mouth.
However, we in the ‘corporate world’, in our pursuit to ‘glamourize’ and ‘differentiate’, complicate business management. We are caught up in an ‘always-busy’ syndrome of high activity levels that do not always translate to value. For instance look back at your previous week and attempt to identify how many meetings, conferences, emails and reports were actually beneficial for the success of the business. The small merchant, struggling for survival in a competitive environment (and perhaps also struggling to consistently put food on the table), will never do anything that he/she cannot see the cash flow for.
Consider certain aspects of the model your business is founded upon, for example a specific process adopted within your organization. Can you, in laymen terms, explain what it is and how it contributes to the value proposition you offer your customers? Or are you one of those people who find it difficult to explain what exactly their job is and what exactly their business does?
The main issue in complicating business management is that we tend to get lost in its complexity. It’s even more alarming that we adopt a belief that if a solution is very simple, it cannot be any good. As a result, we are ‘blind’ to absolutely simple ways to manage a challenge.
Complexity can often be quite costly, especially if the problem at hand is quite simple. Take for instance the automation of a certain business process. When it can be done quite cheaply and easily by relying on existing software already in use, there is no need to purchase over-the-top “productivity enhancing” software suites that only ends up costing a fortune in both money and time spent for training and implementation.
We need to begin simplifying our complex business management processes and in doing so we need to start asking the very basic questions that even a child would ask.