A Man and His Razor

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It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.?

William of Ockham

This is Ockham's famed Razor.? A shorthand version of the razor might be, "keep it simple." When complexity is added to a relationship, process or organization without good reason, the result is usually a loss of focus, clarity and effectiveness. Roles become blurred, goals are uncertain and success is haphazard.?

Bureaucracies are prime violators of the principle. Clinging to management structures designed in the 19th century to help the railways run on time, many organizations maintain complex supervisory relations that unnecessarily slow work. Even in companies that have slashed middle management, the supervisory web remains-though often working under a new name. Team captains may have replaced department heads, but someone is still signing leave requests.

The reengineering movement brought a significant corrective to this complexity.? While the quality initiative asked, "how can we do it better," reengineering asked, "should we do it at all?" The question is an excellent filter for leaders striving for simplicity. It should be asked before any decision is made or action taken. It is a modern extension of the Razor that helps "keep it simple."

George Ebert is the President of Trinity River Seminars and Consulting, a firm specializing in the custom design and delivery of team building, personal growth and ethical development programs. Mr. Ebert is a highly sought after speaker, educator and consultant with over thirty years experience in both the public and private sectors. He has presented widely throughout the Unites States. He is the author of the management cult classic, Climbing From the Fifth Station: A guide to building teams that work!

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