It’s gradual. 

It’s unrecognizable. 

No one does it intentionally. 

Unchecked, it can cause a slow, painful death to your Growth. 

This isn’t a commercial for a new miracle drug designed to stop some recently-discovered disease. I’m talking about the health of your business and the plague I’m worried about is Complexity. 

Complexity is a result of your team's inability to slow down and shed its operational debt. If you keep adding while never removing, you will eventually destroy your only competitive advantage:  The ability to execute, fast.

  • When is the last time you removed a process from your workflow? 

  • Are there things that you do every day because you’ve always done them?  

  • Do you find that it takes too long to execute on new ideas?

Are you wondering if you have fallen victim to too much complexity? Simply ask yourself, does it feel like it takes too long to execute on good ideas? 

A sprinter doesn’t lose her speed overnight. It’s a slow, gradual process.

Before you know it, your 40 yard dash looks like this… 

Here’s a simple workflow that can help you speed up:

Solve the problems that create all the problems.  

This is a simple exercise. Make a short list of the critical problems that come up frequently. Removing these will dramatically reduce your operational drag and make room for new ideas. 

Next, decide what you should do. 

I use a simple thought experiment to help me structure my day and help guide my team. I look for the small changes that have a big impact. 

Finally, when it comes to your workload, less is more.  You go fast by going slow.  

The best operational advice I ever received was from Eric Schmidt in his interview with Reid Hoffman: 

“The way you build great products is small teams with strong leaders who make tradeoffs and work all night to build a product that just barely works. Look at the iPod. Look at the iPhone. No apps. But now it’s 70% of the revenue of the world’s most valuable company.”

Your business doesn’t have to be perfect today, it just needs to get you to your next milestone. You can worry about tomorrow’s problems tomorrow.