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“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. “

(Antoine de St. Exupery)

“Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

(Albert Einstein)

As my main field is Information Technology, I have seen many companies design complex systems to support elaborate business processes. Unfortunately, I have also seen many of these systems fail.

We sometimes forget that added complexity almost never translates into added benefits or success. Every time we make a process or product more complex we set ourselves up for failure.

Process and Product simplification should be one of the main goals of every professional and manager.

Do not reward complexity! Reward simplicity!

Ensure that everyone around you understands that you foster simple solutions. Depending on your organization this might require a new culture of work or just a small change.

In some organizations, it is considered an achievement to build such a complicated process that its creator becomes indispensable (for this also see: “The graveyard is full of indispensable people.”). So much so, that he or she can’t even go on vacation or worse, they are not available to take over other tasks or projects.

Make sure that you reward the opposite – a good manager is a dispensable manager. Only then can he take over new tasks and add value to the company.

In product design there are many examples of the success of simplicity. Just look at Google or Apple and you will immediately recognize that one of their underlying design principles is simplicity.

So make sure that whenever and wherever possible you simplify!