A Longer Note: On Simplicity

My obsession with simplicity is almost cult-like. It’s one of the key tenets of both my business and my own life. I firmly believe that too much is hidden in artificial, lazy complexity – making the world a worse place for it.

But there’s a dark side to this…

It’s that niggling feeling that says “what if you’re missing something?”

It’s the imposter monster within us all that jumps up and screams “what if you’re wrong!”

Worse still, you also run the risk of something like this:

Finally, simplicity sucks when someone says to you “Is there anything else?” – with a sceptical look in their eye that says ‘Really, that’s all?! …Are you some kind of simpleton?’ (Side note – I’m still working on answering that question with a confident “yes! you don’t need anymore than that – stop overcomplicating it!”)

It’s an interesting dilemma though because in a corporate environment – what’s the alternative?

Reams of documentation?

10 Step methodologies with 30+ templates?

140 question surveys with ‘on a scale of 1-77 how do you feel about the cheese in the café downstairs’?

Gorgeous PowerPoint decks that somehow cost more than a brand new Porsche 911?

Process models that map every step of your morning rhythm between picking up your toothbrush to forgetting where your keys are?

The new Porsche 911 Sport Classic: back to the future - Porsche Newsroom AUS

When faced with the choice between clunky complexity and uncomfortable simplicity – I’d choose the discomfort of simplicity any day. (I suspect you would too).

And here’s the crux of it. Effective simplicity isn’t about getting your templates more streamlined, or about building toolsets that help you ‘follow the bouncing ball’. It’s not even a ‘principles based approach’.

Effective simplicity is having useful ways of thinking about complex problems.

It’s having the right questions to ask. The right analogies to share. And the right mental connections to make.

And for anyone leading change – that’s worth enduring a million ‘is that all?’ looks.