Leadership Simplicity and KISS

“Simplicity, patience, compassion.  

These three are your greatest treasures.  

Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.  

Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are.  

Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all being in the world.” – Lao Tzu

I’ve been working recently with people who like to think ‘big’.  Or more specifically they are under pressure to deliver the ‘big’.  They use terms like, going to scale, quick wins, long term vision.  My head spins, what ever happened to making progress?  It’s funny how a shorter term tangible result pales in comparison to the flashy promise of glory.  Do you need to learn-by-doing on a new challenge or an old problem you have failed to resolve in the past?  Learning-by-doing? – nope, that’s not ‘big’ enough.
Well, in 8th grade I learned the term KISS from a thoughtful teacher.
Keep It Simple Silly
Leadership and simplicity go hand in hand especially if we assume that what keeps us from glory are ‘wicked problems’ and ‘adaptive challenges’.
Here are my three wishes for people involved in the hard work of making leadership interventions:
Keep things Simple so you can focus on making progress on the hard stuff not just identifying grand solutions.
Remain Patient and open towards you stakeholders so you can take advantage of their readiness when the time is right.
And finally, show some Compassion, wicked problems and adaptive challenges are difficult for a reason – making solid progress is more than good enough, it might be the only way forward.
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