Not fully understanding your systems is a sign of complexity, not incompetence.

Tom Wujec. Singularity University, Sketchbook, Autodesk. If you have not yet seen his TED talk on visualizing complexity, you may want to see that first and come back. At the end of the video he describes how he help a company recover approximately $50 million in revenue. Most of it recovered when the company’s executives realized how overly complex their business processes were. Lots of waste. Lots of lost revenue.

They’re not unique. How well does your team understand the business processes which govern the day-to-day operations? When I hear managers say “I have to protect the team…” I absolutely know that there’s bureaucracy running unchecked. Have a handful of teams doing this and your company will begin to slow to a crawl and you won’t know how it happened. Well meaning people to be sure, but unaware of the implications of adding process on top of process. As a CEO or COO, make the investment in understanding how the teams and their processes affect one another. You’ll be shocked at how much this is slowing you down.