Everything eventually becomes more complicated unless we work very hard to keep it simple. This is strikingly apparent in big bureaucracies like governments. If you are completing your taxes now, you can see that the laws and processes are so complex most of us can barely understand how to file ourselves.
Governments are not the only organizations afflicted with complexity. Medical systems, university systems, and most corporations as well. I have even a little extra complexity in the systems of my little one-woman business.
Everything becomes more complicated because of the layering effect. Someone abuses the system, and we make a rule (and add a layer of complexity). We switch out software and retool our process to fit the new software’s constraints (another layer or two of complexity). New technology enables us to do something new and valuable (another layer is added). So we keep layering changes, rules, and processes onto our system until we have something so tangled an outsider might never decipher it.
Much of the mess is hidden from members, but sometimes the complexity shows. It shows up in multi-page membership applications and event registrations. They see it in long emails and lists of rules. They feel it when they call and encounter an automated phone maze.
It takes a lot of caring to do the hard work of keeping things simple.
- Association processes might be keeping you from important work
- Broken association processes fracture member engagement
- Member engagement is not convenient for us