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Posts Tagged ‘bill jensen

Work Complexity

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I just finished reading a book called Simplicity: The New Competitive Advantage in a World of More, Better, Faster by Bill Jensen.

The layout and overall flow of the book was a little complex for a book titled Simplicity, but the book contained tons of great information and ideas.

The book had my mind racing…..identifying areas where we have unnecessary complexity at work………thinking of ways to organize, simplify, and work smarter.

One idea that came up throughout the book was this…..

– Knowledge workers in most companies are bombarded with, overwhelmed with, and drowning in information, data, meetings, and requests for their time.

– Making sense of it all becomes job #1.

– Turning all that information into action falls a distant second.

The author found that simple companies and organizations provide tools and organize information in a way so that employees are able to spend less time on making sense of everything and more time on taking action.

To the whiteboard…..



Written by Aaron

March 23, 2008 at 5:11 pm


with 2 comments

I am fascinated by this idea of ‘Simplicity’.

At home……eliminating clutter, stuff, noise, distractions from your family life so you can concentrate on the things and people that matter most.

At work……taking extremely complex business strategies, goals, and plans and simplifying them so that employees can spend more time on doing and less time on figuring out what to do.

At church…….taking the mind blowing concept of an all-powerful, all-knowing, loving, approachable, and saving God and simplifying it so that simple minded people like me can understand it and respond to it.

In politics………taking a complex philosophy of government and simplifying it so that masses of people will understand it and support it with the power of their vote.

Author Bill Jensen wrote a book about this idea of simplicity in the workplace called Simplicity: The New Competitive Advantage in a World of More, Better, Faster

I haven’t read the book yet, but I was able to browse through the first few chapters online. The book was written back in 1999/2000, but the frustrations encountered by knowledge workers then still exist today.

Here is some stuff I found in the just the first few chapters:

“The hardest work is figuring out what to do in a world of infinite choices.”

“Making the complex clear always helps people work smarter. Because it is a lot easier to figure out what’s important and ignore what isn’t.”

“In today’s infosaturated world, what you know is power only if you know how to use it to help you juggle the too many things that were all due yesterday. That kind of power is based on your ability to separate the important from the urgent.”

“By changing how you organize and share what you know, you’ll spend a lot less time on the things that don’t matter and a lot more time on the things that do. When you spend more time making the complex clear, the figuring out part happens ‘for free’.”

“If you’d like a simpler company, senior execs also must do one thing: Work backwards from what people need.”

“Simplicity is a leadership tool to help you help everyone to work smarter.”

“Productive knowledge work is all about how we use each other’s time and attention as we try to get stuff done. Your worst competitor is day-to-day confusion—the time it takes everyone to figure out what to do and what not to do.”

“The universal problem seems to be how hard people have to work just to figure out what to do.”

“Business is doing a great job at changing to meet marketplace, customer, and shareholder needs. And it is lousy at making work elegant—creating clarity of choice, then providing the tools and information people need to work smarter.”

“Simplicity could be the toughest job you never asked for but must take on.”

“Our biggest limit is no longer the reach of our imagination. It’s now our inability to order, make sense of, and connect everything that demands our attention.”

The top 4 sources of complexity: 1) Lack of integration of change 2) Unclear goals and objectives 3) Ineffective communication 4) Your knowledge management experience

Written by Aaron

March 10, 2008 at 9:21 pm