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Life is complex.  Sometimes we’d like it to be simpler – perhaps then we could get a grasp on why things don’t work out the way we want them to.

But enough on life philosophy, now for corporate America.  As it turns out, the same truth pervades.  Things are complex.  Believing anything else is naive.

There’s a common practice in the medical profession of learn one, do one, teach one.  There is an understanding and appreciation that being able to teach someone else how to do something truly helps the process of mastery.  But somehow, along the way in corporate management, that truth is discarded.

Management executives want to issue a fiat that something should be simple.  Let’s focus on low hanging fruit and of course, such edicts are rarely in the manager’s realm of expertise.  We’ve convinced ourselves, as managers, that if we want something to be simple, then all mastery be damned, let’s find a consultant or employee that reaffirms us.  Let’s plow forward in passionate ignorance because after all, it WILL be simple.

Then our results land somewhere between disappointment and disaster.

We’re wise enough to understand that even though our 16-year old children think driving is about turning a wheel and pushing pedals, it’s not that simple.  But in our lives we don’t see our “16-year old self” in the situation.  We don’t listen to external counsel, because after all, we couldn’t have reached the elevation of company executive without our hard-charging, results-oriented, take-no-prisoners approach to work.

Oh well, maybe next time we’ll learn that complexity is everywhere, and to pretend otherwise might not be a wise position to take.

Dilbert Complexity IQ