We don’t really want to make things better

Yesterday I wrote about the simple rules that underlie complex systems.

Below is a simple rule to defeat COVID-19. If everyone did this for 2 weeks, the pandemic would be over.

Two. Weeks.

There are similar complex problems in our organizations today that have a simple solution. And they persist because no one is willing to suffer a little bit now and make thing better forever thereafter.

We don’t really want to make things better.

What if it were simple?

I am currently reading Systems Thinking Made Simple, which convincingly demonstrates that simplicity underlies complexity. In fact, it drives it.

Therefore, when faced with a complex problem, an important approach to finding a solution is to discover the simplicity underneath. What are the simple rules driving your compliance problem today?

Similarly, when building a compliance program, which ought to be complex, remember that it must rest on simple rules. Identify those rules at the outset. Write them down. Display them for all to see. Make sure every element of your system obeys those rules. If everyone interacting with the system understands the simple rules, they will not be overwhelmed by the complexity that emerges.