Écrit par l'équipe P-Val

This announcement was made by our Minister for Agriculture at a time when the French Prime Minister, in his general policy speech, stated that he wanted to reduce bureaucracy in France, and his Minister for Finance wanted a “simplification shock”, a useful package for saving €20 billion.

This announcement on hedges is a grotesque revelation of the way in which decision-makers are approaching simplification, in both the public and private sectors.

Let’s unroll our Hedge Observatory.

This Observatory will want to exist. In 40 pages, it will define what is and what is not a hedge. As the subject is complex, it will create a taxonomy of 23 types of hedge, each with its own 10-page description. Then he’ll want to measure what exists and everyone will have to declare their hedges, of course via a buggy digital application (inevitably due to lack of budget…). Finally, to finance itself, under the guise of developing the hedges concept, it will introduce a tax and fines on the standards set. In short, like so many others before it, it will have fallen into the trap of bureaucracy.

Simplification is anything but simple.

In fact, this “let’s simplify!” injunction comes at a time when the situation has become so complex that it is having very negative effects: the system is clogged up, there is a revolt, production costs are soaring, customers are fleeing, and so on.

Why have we reached this point? Our Western world, and no doubt by contagion beyond it, is founded on the mastery of complexity.

Our elites are selected and trained on the basis of this ability. Put three polytechnicians in a room to create a process. It will necessarily be complex, and the more complex it is, the more it will be an object of value and power for them. Trying to simplify it afterwards will – at best – only reduce a complexity that had no business being there in the first place.

Take Agile: at the start it’s simple, then with chapters, tribes, agile@scale, various methods, certifications, etc. it becomes very complicated!

What’s worse is that governments and senior management are cutting corners.

They have long since lost touch with the Real World of their organisations. Their reflex response is to cut budgets everywhere. This response only makes the situation worse. Because they are complex, our organisations need “luxuries”, lots of “lubricants” (budget, staff, deadlines, etc.). They cannot operate on the basis of undifferentiated cost-cutting: look at the sad fate of ATOS, which Thierry Breton has hung out to dry for 14 years, even though the ESN sector is doing well and Atos spin-offs are thriving!

So what can we do?

The challenge is to come up with answers in a World of “simplicity”.

Simplicity” must replace “Complexity”. The Twingo must replace the bloated SUV.

The elites must be selected and trained on their ability to keep things simple (which is different from simplifying). This Greatness of “keeping things simple” is then embodied in appropriate Interactions such as value analysis, and Decision-making methods based on trial and error, and founded on the pairing of responsibility and trust. Finally, we need to deploy a Performance Recognition system that clearly distinguishes between different results.

If you are sensitive to this issue of over-complexity and pseudo-simplification, which leads to the addition of “simplicity” reporting on top of existing reporting, then contact us.

And if you’ve also realised that keeping things simple is an effective way of creating a Better World, we’ll work with you to create your ‘Keeping Things Simple’ World.

Laurent Dugas

photo ld médaillon


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