May 18, 2017

Simplify to Succeed

We live in an age of options. Did you know that the average American grocery store stocks 45,000 different products? Something as simple as a getting
some food for dinner can be a bit of a challenge when faced with all those options!

The central reason we have more complexity than simplicity is that simplicity is much harder to achieve.

It was Steve Jobs who positioned simplicity as the ultimate challenge: “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking
clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

But it’s hard to move mountains when bogged down in e-mail. As leaders, it’s too easy to get involved in the minutiae of events and decisions that
make our organizations run smoothly. If we allow ourselves to get too involved in small tasks, we will fail to cast vision and work on the critical
objective that determine the future of our organization, and the ship will easily veer off course. So what’s the solution?

First, we must assess where we are spending our time. Are we engaging in high priority activities most the day? Or are we riding the
tidal surge of our never-ending email inbox? To stay focused on your most important priorities try using the first half of your day to work on
them. Then in the afternoon you can meet with people and handle the other details of your work.

A lot of times, all we need to do is sit down and simplify our goals.

The more basic and less abstract our goals are, the better. In fact, try it right now. Take a quick look at your current goals. Are they simple and
clear? The truth is, if we can’t see how to achieve our goals they are unattainable. It’s like Albert Einstein says: “If you can’t explain it simply,
you don’t understand it well enough.”

Ask for a little help from someone who knows.

When my Wife and I first bought our travel trailer, it appeared complicated and overwhelming to learn everything. How do you tow it, set it up, run
the water, lights, heating system, refrigerator, stove – help! There was so much to know. The man we bought it from was so kind and helpful. He
showed me everything and gave his number to call when I need help. And I did call him. What a difference experience makes. I have found that people
love to help – if we just ask. Look around, find people who have done what you want to do and ask them for their help. It brings them joy to share
their experience and we can cut through complication and discover simple solutions.

To simplicity,

Coach Greg