The illusion of Simplicity — Leadership Whispers

Enso “Muichimotsu” by Kobayashi Taigen

“This is so complicated!”

We endure complicated processes, meetings that are littered with “break-outs,” “share backs,” and those damn “parking lots,” and we tend to blame these on our managers.

Then when we become managers, we begin to accept simplicity is merely an aspiration that sits cross-legged at the highest echelons of business ideals: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication!” “Life is more complicated!”

Simplicity whispers danger. What if we missed something? Simplicity whispers fear. We tend to reject it, especially when it comes to describing our choices and ourselves: I am complex; therefore I am unique.

In reality, effective simplicity is a spectrum that spans from Steve Job’s four products to Bruce Lee’s “Be Water,” and it can be worked on through simplifying a meeting:

* Remove elements of a meeting aggressively. No fear!
* Build adaptability (observe, feedback, tinker, and adopt) by geeking out on the who (including us), what (resist too many things, as noise will be our biggest enemy), how (smash bureaucracies), and when (how often).
* Turn this into an infinite loop. Consider setting no deadline and strive for patience and grit.

This work is to learn how to ride the wave of becoming simple. It doesn’t end. 🌊

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