It was Confucius who said that “life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” I’m going to explain why achieving simplicity matters, and how organizing strategy around the number six and the shape of a hexagon can play a part in helping leaders and teams cut through the complexity that gets in the way of delivering on strategy, greater value, and a more fulfilling work experience.

The business cost of complexity is huge, in both financial and emotional terms. Even before COVID-19 changed the way we live and work, the sheer disruption caused by automation and the need to constantly upgrade systems and skills had increased workplace stress significantly. Recent research shows that six in 10 workers in developed economies experience stress, and there are estimates that time taken off owing to stress-related illnesses costs businesses billions of dollars annually.

And for what gain? Despite all the investment in technology, global productivity remains stubbornly weak or stagnant. So the problems that derive from complexity, it would seem, are everywhere.

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