Overly Complex

Business can be a little like assembling something. Why? It is because it is often overly complex. If your reaction is anything like mine, even after you finished putting something together you still wondered, “Who designed this and did it really need to be so complicated or require so many parts?” Then you may have wondered who wrote the assembly instructions. You may even be convinced you could come up with a better design and certainly simpler instructions.

Some Background

Earlier I wrote the blog posting Don’t Let Accounting Kill Sales that dealt with the issue of accounting policies that create unnecessary paperwork and even irritate customers, perhaps to the point that they won’t come back. Now I know somebody thought a particular procedure was necessary, but that raises two questions.

  1. Why is it necessary?
  2. If the procedure or whatever really is necessary, is this the best way?

You see, sometimes those that create a form, procedures, or policy are not on the front lines to observe the actual impact on others.

For Example

Imagine that a procedure is needed to track customer returns. If it involves too many steps or forms or involves too many people, it can waste employees’ and customers’ time and leave them frustrated.


Make it so overly complex that users are left frustrated and there is a good chance people will just ignore it.

Be Reasonable

I’ll readily admit that there is a need for many procedures. That said, when you design a procedure, process, policy, form, etc. make sure to remember the KISS principle. You are probably are familiar with this acronym for Keep It Simple Stupid. Carefully think about what you are trying to accomplish so you can eliminate redundancy and unnecessary steps. Other employees and even customers will appreciate it. As an example, I’m convinced that sometimes the policy of “Returns accepted with no questions asked” may be more cost-effective than one that makes a customer jump through a lot of hoops in the interest of trying to save a few dollars.

If you have the opportunity, take a look at some of the rules you are enforcing and consider whether they are overly complex.

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.


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