Recently I have had the experience of working with a great group of people involved in an interesting project.  The group are keen and are interested in making the project work; they are highly motivated.  One manager of the group is also very enthusiastic but suffers from a potentially dangerous condition called overcomplication!

Paralysis by analysis is a severe condition.  You can take the most straightforward issue and overcomplicate it to such a level it becomes a real issue.  This is created by asking very complicated questions to such a degree you then start to forget what the simple problem was in the first place — asking questions to such a level looking for an issue when in reality, there isn’t one!

As a manager, it can cause you significant issues, including:

Staff Start to Question – they will question everything you do, maybe not to your face but certainly behind the scenes either to themselves or others.  “Here we go again” is a classic statement they will start to say to themselves, and they will begin to switch off in meetings.  Some personalities will get very frustrated.  Ask the question to staff “Are we overcomplicating this?” to gauge their feeling.

Simple Problems Become Bigger – sometimes we have to make a simple decision to a problem and live with the consequences.  Of course, we will sometimes make the wrong decisions, and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as we learn.  Live with the simple problem or do something about it, make decisions.

Nothing Gets Done – if we spend all our time overcomplicating and overthinking the simplest of issues it can cause huge time management issues and nothing will get done. Have a plan with a deadline and tick it off as complete when done.

Staff Become Demotivated – especially in meetings where simple issues are dissected to such a level the level of complication is massive.  Staff will become demotivated and less likely to respond or go the extra mile.   Use points of action in meetings and delegate to others.

As a manager, we will deal with many issues and problems; it is a fact of life in the role of manager. Let us not add to them by making things worse; keep it simple and get it done!

Ralph Moody is the founder of Target Training and specialises in trainer and management development.  You can read more about him here.