Keep it simple
Yesterday someone sent me Rule #2466 of Relationship Management. It seemed a perfectly good rule – but it made me wonder what the 2465 before it had to say and just how many more come after it?
The Christian religion was founded on ten core rules, or commandments. Whether or not we believe in the religion, i am sure everyone would acknowledge its influence. Much of the early appeal was its simplicity – and this is true of all great movements. Once ‘the regulators’ or rule-makers (the priesthood) move in and make it a full-time profession, many adherents are alienated.
We face this dilemma in the creation and management of trade and trading relationships. The underlying principles are actually very simple. The relationship must offer sustainable benefit to both parties; they must not operate to the unfair disadvantage or detriment of others; they must have some equitable basis for termination.
When the rules multiply, they represent a growth of complexity that ultimately makes the model unsustainable. The cost burden of administrative overhead becomes untenable and we lose the ability to comply, simply because there are too many rules to understand and follow.
At the macro level, the continued growth of regulation should cause all of us to question whether current approaches to trade will soon be subject to revolutionary change. But more immediately, at the micro level, we must focus on how we can issue simple, easily understood operating rules and principles in our internal and external business relationships. Specifically, are the rules through which your contracts are designed, drafted, approved, negotiated and implemented readily intelligible to others? Are they designed to facilitate use and compliance, or are they designed to ensure continued employment for an ever-growing priesthood?