Simplicity Minded Leadership

– Posted in: Change Strategies Executive Coaching Leadership Coaching Performance Coaching

Cut Through Complexity in Your Organization and Get Things Done

Business leaders are frequently frustrated by their organization’s complexity. Yet very few have developed a strategy for simplification. Streamlining your organization’s way of doing business will reduce or eliminate the rules, meetings, processes and procedures your company now runs on. So how can you simplify your organization in order to be productive to work on the things that matter most?

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” – Charles Mingus

Instilling a growth mindset is not an overnight fix. You’ve been used to the same old, same-old routine for some time. It can only take you so far. By expecting to get different results you have to do things different from the way you do things right now. Yes, this means you have to change what you are doing.

Start with small incremental changes. These small changes can have a big impact on what you do. Then add more changes for improving your existing rules, meetings, processes and procedures. This can also be done with the emails you get flooded with every day. Do you really have to write long emails and do you have to answer or respond to each email that comes in?


You started out with great intention as you created rules, processes and procedures. Meetings came with the territory to have all employees know what’s going on and possibly for everyone to give feedback, thoughts ideas and opinions to what was said. As time went by more rules, processes and procedures were added. Meetings came and went with more of them and longer times.

Nothing was getting done because of too many scheduled and unscheduled meetings that were unproductive. The same has been happening with receiving too many emails and thinking that you have to respond to each one.  On top of this, many assumptions and beliefs are thought of as “rules” when they are not.

“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.” – John Maeda


The key to solving complex problems may be to simplify as much as possible and approach them with your mind. The more you think simplification, the more it will be ingrained in your thinking. Some people say this habit takes anywhere from 21 days to 90 days to stay with you.

Productivity changes from day to day and person to person and place to place. Leaders you need to check-in with your employees and get feedback from them as to their performance and how their work is versus how complexity was stopping them from productive work.

“At the core of productivity is the feeling that you are doing the work that matters to you most at the moment you most want to do it, without having to make huge sacrifices along the way.”

-Charles Duhigg

Doing the Work that Matters Most

Simplicity matters when you know you have to complete and it has to get done. What matters most is the work that is important to the productivity of the organization. On a simplification basis you need time to complete the work that brings in more work and generates revenue.

Stop working on non-productive things and start working on what’s priority. You were not hired to sift through the gobbley gook and be in a crisis mode every day. You were hired to be productive. Take some time out and look at what you have that’s not working. Get rid of those things and use trial-&-error to find what does work.

Put your focus on one thing at a time. Constant changes need to take place to weed out complexity. Whether this is done with every project, every quarter, twice a year, it needs to be done every year as a strategic planning guide.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

The bottom line is that some of the complexity in your organization is self-imposed because people are afraid so you cover yourself (CYA) with writing long reports. Sometimes power and control gets in the way that leads to complexity that ends up lessening work performance.  An excess of choices can lead to fatigue and can make people feel dissatisfied with the experience. This leads to exhaustion and frustration.

Instead, taking action on eliminating complexity and complacency can lead you to simplification of your entire organization. This is where you want to end up. By being proactive you need to be aware when you are creating the complexity you don’t need. Otherwise, you may not remember or not have time to get rid of what’s not necessary.

“Simplicity: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.” – Leo Babauta


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