Six Simple Rules – A Book Summary to Overcome Complexity

(Last Updated On: September 20, 2021)

Here you will find the Six Simple Rules – book summary to Trim Business Complexity will help you decide your goal and to reach your destination.

Our rapidly changing economic and technology landscape has resulted in an unparalleled level of complexity across the globe. These six simple guidelines might assist managers in cutting through the clutter.

I saw firsthand the power of having leaders who believed in their team, gave them a vision for what they could achieve, provided the support and encouragement they needed to believe in themselves, and then got out of the way and let the group move forward to achieve their objectives. This event taught me significant leadership skills that have impacted my leadership approach throughout my career.

Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman‘s famous release, Six SImple Principles: How to Manage Complexity without Getting Complicated, outlines six simple rules that reinforce some of these key lessons. I’m delighted to be able to share an extract from the book with you, and I hope it prompts discussion and action inside your company as per in Six Simple Rules book summary.

A selection of passages from the book

Simplicity with a twist

The simple rules provide a method for managers to break free from this doomsday cycle and begin going beyond hard and soft techniques to effectively deal with company complexity (see “The Six Simple Rules Overview” below). The primary aim is to increase value by improving business complexity management.

Therefore, as managers remove the sutures and patches that have developed due to the employment of outdated techniques in today’s environment, a by-product is the reduction of complexity and its associated costs. In this way, the six guidelines represent a third management revolution: “smart simplicity.”

The simple principles allow businesses to increase performance and engagement at the same time by assisting in the management of complexity and the removal of complications. Furthermore, the dread loop is turned into a positive cycle:

Better performance means more chances for individuals; more opportunities mean greater engagement, and more engagement means higher ambitions and even better performance.

The principles are founded on the idea that the mix of autonomy and collaboration is the key to managing complexity. These are two terms that people seldom associate with one other, yet it is the combination of the two that is necessary to handle complexity without becoming overly complicated as per the Six Simple Rules book summary.

Individual liberty fosters people’s flexibility and agility, while collaboration fosters synergy, allowing everyone’s contributions to be amplified in the most efficient way possible for the group.

The goal of the basic rules is to create conditions in which each person’s autonomy—in terms of utilizing judgment and energy—is enhanced by the rest of the group, and people use their autonomy to help the group. The guidelines are intended to establish an organizational environment in which each individual’s best option is to cooperate.

In other words, these principles aid in the organization and management of individuals in such a way that cooperation becomes an individually beneficial behavior—a “rational strategy”—for them.

The basic principles aren’t meant to manage people by enforcing formal standards and processes; rather, they’re meant to foster a collaborative environment where employees may come up with innovative solutions to complicated problems.

People are mutually benefited and compelled by others to come up with the appropriate ways to deal with performance needs, even if what is right cannot be stated in advance, owing to the collaboration created by basic norms.

It’s a dead-end to simplify in a naïve approach, by disregarding or eliminating business complexity. You must be astute and capitalize on other people’s intelligence.

You must understand the complexity of the company and simplify in a way that makes use of people’s intelligence and judgment. This is possible because of the mix of liberty and collaboration.

Why not limit yourself to six rules? We know that the six rules can’t be reduced to fewer since none of them can be subtracted from the other five.

None of the six rules are unnecessary

In the other direction, we have never seen a case where the answer was not a mix of the six rules. There is no need to introduce a new rule. The six rules together provide a minimum adequate set for dealing with complexity.

The first three rules are intended to provide individuals with the appropriate information, freedom for maneuver, power, and the resource of collaboration to help them utilize their brains and energy at work. Understanding what individuals do and why they do it is the first simple guideline. The second guideline concerns the use of power to promote collaboration.

The generation of power is the subject of the third rule. These first three laws set the stage for individual autonomy, allowing its efficacy to be amplified by others’ participation.

Simple guidelines Four, five, and six are designed to encourage people to face complexity and use their autonomy to collaborate with others by embedding feedback loops that expose them to the consequences of their actions as directly as possible, without the need for additional supervision and structure or the bureaucracy of compliance metrics and incentives.

The fourth and fifth principles provide direct feedback loops that are built into work processes and activities. The fourth rule creates direct feedback loops based on interdependencies— space, in a sense.

The fifth rule’s feedback loops are time-based, rewarding or punishing people based on how well they do today for tomorrow. When work procedures prevent direct feedback loops, management involvement, in the form of assessment, is required as the last option to close them. The sixth rule serves this purpose.

In summary, the first three rules leverage the group effect to offer people’s autonomy an edge in deciding how to best use their energy and judgment, but the last three rules compel people to put their autonomy to the group’s best use.

People are bound to reach superior solutions to those predefined or hard-wired in procedures and structures, as well as the loose compromises of collaboration within informal, consensus-seeking groups when they devote their full energy and intelligence to the greater range of possible solutions that arise from cooperation.

We don’t want to imply that the rules are easy to put into effect by calling them “simple.” Managers must think and operate differently in order to use them. We also don’t mean that managers should make simplicity a primary aim according to the Six Simple Rules book summary.

However, what we mean is that these principles enable CEOs to get a competitive edge by using complexity without being overly convoluted in the Six Simple Rules book summary.

Overview of the Six Simple Rules

1. Know what your employees do. This guideline is about obtaining a genuine knowledge of performance—what individuals do and why they do it—rather than being caught up in the smokescreen of hard and soft methods. After you’ve grasped this concept, you may utilize the other basic principles to interfere.

2. Strengthen integrators. This guideline entails granting units and people the authority and incentive to promote collaboration; integrators, when reinforced, allow each individual to profit from the cooperation of others.

3. Increase the overall amount of electricity available. This rule explains how to generate new power, not simply transfer existing power so that the organization can successfully mobilize individuals to meet the complex organization’s numerous performance criteria.

4. Make reciprocity more important. This rule, along with rules five and six, shifts the focus from establishing the conditions for effective autonomy to ensuring that people use their autonomy to help the group deal with complexity; rule four accomplishes this by establishing rich objectives, eliminating internal monopolies, and removing some resources.

5. Extend the future’s shadow. This rule uses the inherent power of time, rather than supervision, measurements, or incentives, to establish direct feedback loops that encourage individuals to accomplish their own job today while simultaneously contributing to the fulfillment of future performance needs.

6. Recognize and reward those who work together. This rule fundamentally alters the managerial conversation—from goal-setting through evaluation—in such a manner that transparency, creativity, and lofty goals become the best options for people and teams.

The Six Simple Rules’ Scientific Basis

The six principles are founded on fundamental social science advances that may be traced back to Herbert Simon and Thomas Schelling’s work. In 1978, Simon was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on decision-making, and Schelling earned the prize in 2005 for his game-theoretic work on disputes and cooperation.

Simon’s research provided a completely new perspective on cognitive processes, such as how people make decisions and act, whereas Schelling’s research helped us better understand individual interactions and how these interactions affect overall outcomes, which can be very different from their individual intent.

Michel Crozier and Robert Axelrod are two more notable intellectual contributors. Crozier began his career by researching post-World War II labor movements in the United States, following which he developed a new technique known as strategic analysis of organizations.

Axelrod is a political scientist who has contributed to our understanding of cooperation as an evolutionary process and has created ideas that have been used to designate some of the basic laws.

These advances have resulted in a plethora of fresh viewpoints on organizations as well as practical insights into human behavior that are crucial to how companies handle complexity. Consider the following scenario:

Human conduct is calculated. People strategically adapt to their environment (in the way that game theory defines the word) in order to achieve specific aims or goals.

They may or may not be aware of those aims, but the goals may be discovered by closely observing how they act. Human conduct may always be evaluated as a rational strategy in the context of an individual; there are always “good reasons” (in the sense of explanatory power) for how individuals behave according to in Six Simple Rules book summary.

Formal rules and procedures have no predictable impact on people’s conduct. People, on the other hand, actively interpret rules and utilize them as a resource to achieve their objectives. It’s not the rules themselves that matter, but how they’re applied.

Cooperation isn’t merely a self-evident objective or aim (the desire for individuals to “operate as a team”). It is difficult to build and simple to dismantle the social processes. Organizations must establish a conducive environment for collaboration.

Power isn’t an unavoidable evil or a cause of oppression. It is a vital resource for individuals in organizations as well as collective action mobilization.

These principles form the foundation for the six rules and explain why they function, especially in light of the increasing complexity that renders all old hard and soft management techniques outdated.

The six simple principles were created with the goal of making these concepts actionable—that is, to assist managers in using them in their day-to-day job managing businesses. The six basic principles can be thought of as practice guidelines.

The six principles offer the foundation for solving the whole range of organizational difficulties, including productivity, creativity, development, and cultural transformation, because all performance issues stem from people’s actions, decisions, and interactions—what we refer to as behaviors in Six Simple Rules book summary.

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