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Six Simple Rules: How to Manage Complexity without Getting Complicated Hardcover – 28 Mar 2014

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (28 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422190552
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422190555
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 12.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

ADVANCE PRAISE for Six Simple Rules: Lamberto Andreotti, CEO, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company-- "Applying the rules of this book will help those looking to increase cooperation while also removing complicatedness in their organizations." Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries Limited-- "We do not want best practices; they are not good enough for us. We want the next practices, and that is what the six simple rules are about." Erhard Friedberg, Professor DDr, h.c. emeritus, Sciences Po, Paris; Professor and Senior Advisor, School of Government and Public Policy (SGPP-Indonesia)-- "This book will prove seminal. It shows the essential contribution that good empirical social sciences can bring to management, how social sciences can be used to seriously analyze and change what people do at work, and the amazing results you can then produce." --Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO, LEGO Group

About the Author

Yves Morieux is a senior partner and managing director in the Washington, DC, office of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). He is a BCG Fellow and director of the BCG Institute for Organization. Peter Tollman is a senior partner and managing director in BCG's Boston office. He leads BCG's People and Organization practice in North America.


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I agree with Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman: "Underlying the management of today's organizations is a set of beliefs and practices - the hard and soft approaches - that, given the new complexity of business, have become obsolete." Worse yet, these approaches have become self-defeating. Briefly, the hard approach "rests on two fundamental assumptions. The first is the belief that structures, processes, and systems have a direct and predictable effect on performance, and as long as managers pick the right one, they will get the performance they want...The second assumption is that the human factor is the weakest and least reliable link of the organization and that it is essential to control people's behavior through the proliferation of rules to specify their actions and through financial incentives linked to carefully designed metric s and key performance indicators (KPIs) to motivate them to perform in the way the organization wants them to.

As for the soft approach, it views an organization as "a set of interpersonal relationships and the sentiments that govern them. Good performance is the by-product of good interpersonal relationships. What people do is predetermined by personal traits, so-called psychological needs and mind-sets. In other words, to change behavior at work, change the mind-set (or change the people)."

What do Morieux and Tollman suggest? They wrote this book to explain how and why organizations can create more value with better management of complexity by abandoning both hard and soft approaches. What then?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my job, and Yves Morieux tells of his experience in complex, global and matrixed organisations. The challenge of complexity in this fast paced, competitive industry environment is a never-ending one, and this is really focused on the behaviours of leaders and employees, ensuring you have the right balance of power and cooperation, and we understand each other's roles to focus on a joint goal.
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Format: Hardcover
Rarely does a book generate a lot of wows from within me and I do go through a lot of them. If I had known these rules earlier (say 10 years ago) I would have been a much more effective executive. The way the authors narrate and weave the stories around the rules is fantastic. This is one of the top 5 books in my personal library. It will add value to all who are interested in designing intelligent organisations which generate a lot of COLLABORATION.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The authors promise to deliver six simple rules. However, the rules that they deliver are anything but simple. Some of the measures they propose are well explained and make perfect sense, such as their suggestions on how to bring the future forward. However, others are pretty opaque; "setting rich objectives" is poorly explained and doesn't get much further than shareholder value metrics. In short, the core idea is good but the execution is poor.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I come from an Agile software background and this book helps me understand very well the reasons why my teams work and what's going wrong when they fail or run up against blockages in the rest of the organisation
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book very thought provoking. It is based on research and learning from the last 50 years and has a clear approach for applying the 6 simple rules to help manage complexity. It is a practical call to action for me in my current role.

It starts with a clear, evidence-based explanation of the value and competitive advantage that exists for organisations that can master the increased complexity in their markets and environment. This growth in complexity stems from two trends. Firstly, shifting trade barriers and advances in technology that provide consumers with an abundance of choice. Secondly, the increase in the number of stakeholder groups each with their specific and sometimes conflicting demands.

The authors contrast the opportunities found within complexity with the threats of what they call `complicatedness'. They describe `complicatedness' as being the growth of burdensome organisation mechanisms and the additional structures, procedures,rules and roles that organisations put in place to manage the growth in complexity . The authors go on to consider the underlying root causes of this `complicatedness' from which the 6 simple rules are derived. Further insights are shared through a series of case studies.

The penny started to drop for me when reading the book for the second time. This paragraph on page 16 about autonomy and cooperation within organisations really struck a chord:

The rules are based on the premise that the key to managing complexity is the combination of autonomy and cooperation. These are the two words that people rarely think of going together, but it is precisely the combination of the two that are required to handle complexity without complicatedness.
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