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Leadership

Finding beauty in simplicity

Found this in the drafts and I kept wondering why hadn’t I ever posted it. Perhaps, I was was afraid of being judged. You see, finding beauty in simplicity would have been the last thing on my mind a year back, though I’d been practising (as in really “trying”) learned minimalism for some time. But I was a failure.

Someone great once said, “Life is very simple, but keeping it that way is very difficult.” That’s so smart. And so darn true in the age we’re living in. But then, I can’t put it all one the “day” and “age” we’re living in. At the core of it, we’re all responsible for keeping life simple. But can you?

Consider John Maxwell’s observation:

“And at least in theory, the longer we live and the more we learn, the more experience and the more knowledge we acquire—well, that should make life even simpler. But life has a way of becoming complicated, and it is only through great effort that we can keep it simple.”

Emphasis on “great effort.” Meaning the choice essentially is yours.

In one of his books, John narrates about a meeting with Neil Cole, the president of Iconic Brand Group. The former sought advice for developing a strategy to develop leaders globally. And Neil succinctly replied, “The secret is found in simplicity.”

He further shared three powerful questions that will help John implement the strategy:

  1. Can the individual take the information and apply it personally? This is a profound requirement: The strategy must transform the soul of the leader.
  2. Can it be repeated easily? The strategy must be so simple that it can be shared with others quickly and clearly.
  3. Can it be transferred? The strategy must be transferable globally, applying in all cultural contexts.

Think of the tens and thousands of dollars leaders across the globe spend to come up with a proprietary (read: complex) strategy? It drives me nuts just to think about it!

And here’s the best part about the powerful questions above: they can be used to evaluate your effectiveness as a leader too. It sure did help John.

I know what you’re thinking — if leadership was this simple, why doesn’t everyone practice it? The answer is, well… pretty simple. But simple ain’t easy.

The biggest paradox is that we don’t believe simple works. We think things have to be really out-of-this-world to be impactful or drive the results that you’re seeking. Is that the case in reality? You and I know the answer to that.

As for me, I like to keep it simple. Focusing on the minimum effective dose has worked wonders for me in almost every sphere of life. The minimal mindset forces you to get creative with the limited resources (time, money, manpower and what not) you have.

Have you embraced the complex in your business as well? What profoundly simple solutions are you ignoring right now?