Complexity: The Execution Challenge You Don’t See

our day-to-day perspective, simple and complicated things are things we create or conceive. A knife is simple. A bicycle is relatively simple. We can look at all its parts and see how it operates. You might need to understand some basic physics to understand how a bicycle’s gear shift works, but that is a relatively simple concept for humans to grasp. But when it comes to comprehending the inner workings of strategic planning and its role in execution, these become complexities that are difficult to grasp – a fact that management consulting firms are well aware of.

We know that manufacturing processes are complicated, and even bureaucratic processes are complicated. And just consider how complicated legal processes are. But we also know that none of these simple or complicated things creates anything greater than itself. The whole of an outcome realized through strategic planning is only equal to the sum of its parts. Without a rider, the bicycle is just an organized set of parts. Without litigation and judgment, legal execution and the enactment of laws are nothing more than ink on a page. Management consulting firms understand that human systems create something greater than their individual components. Consider the global economy – it appears to be just billions of individual people toiling away in some haphazard manner. But that global economy, as wildly unpredictable as it may be, is a complex system, reliant upon consistent execution achieved by strategic planning through a number of human variables.