“Simplicity, simplicity” –Henry David Thoreau
Complexity makes us confused, but simplicity makes us released.
We are all in the same boat and has a need to understand things without complications; a job, a paper, a loan, colleagues, a leader, communication and so on. The question is why we complicate things.
Alan Siegel and Irene Etzkorn has written the book; Simple, and conquering the crisis of complexity.
Authors; “A crisis of complexity has escalated to a critical point where a decision must be made. We either relinquish the power to understand and control what affects us, or we fight for a better, simpler way to conduct our daily affairs and our commercial transactions”.
Simplicity and clarity goes hand-in-hand, and has a clear intent that easily and quickly conveys its purpose of use. Authors; ” With even greater magnification, you find that it’s about essence – cutting to what matters, delivering substantive content that seems to speak to an audience of one”.
The authors make us aware of the importance of removing barriers, both inside the company as well as removing barriers that separates the company from the outside world. This form of simplification requires breaking down walls inside the company.
A culture of simplicity seems to blossom in open cultures. People are able to communicate openly, both with insiders as well as those outside the company.
Authors; “Something has changed recently, however. People have begun to fight as never before for clarity, transparency, and fairness in their dealings with business and government. More and more are becoming simplicity warriors – without the need for a Nader-like leader. They’re doing it themselves, armed only with social media and a healthy sense of outrage”.
Those of us who has been in situations of receiving too much confusion for too long, are ready for a simplicity movement. Authors; “One of the great misconceptions about the complexity crisis is the belief that the people who made things so complicated – the bureaucrats, the technocrats, the lawyers – are the only ones who can get us out of this mess. But if we wait for help from those who’ve developed and fostered the confusion, we may be waiting a long time”.
Here the authors makes us aware of some important key-elements to use in simplifying:
-we can transform the way we do business
-we can reinvent the everyday practices and process plagued by complexity.
From his book; “On becoming a Leader”, Warren Bennis, has some interesting views on simplicity; “The universe may not be very complex, but it is, nevertheless, complex. And as I mentioned earlier, the social laws are more complex and less certain than the natural ones. But despite the complexity, we cannot stand still. We must continue to swing from tree to tree, although the trees may be ideas, and we may be using axons instead of arms to make the connections. We might want to take Alfred North Whitehead’s advice here; “Seek simplicity, then distrust it”.
Bennis is also saying that our culture is in need of more right-brain qualities like the needs to be more intuitive, conceptual, synthesizing and artistic.
Bennis; “In any corporation, managers serve as the left brain and the research and development staff serves as the right brain, but the CEO must combine both, must have both administrative and imaginative gifts. One of the reasons that so few corporate executives have successfully made the leap from capable manager to successful leader is that the corporate culture, along with society as a whole, recognizes and rewards left brain accomplishments and tends to discount right-brain achievements. Bottom – line thinking is a manifestation of left-brain dominance. Habits are born in the left brain and unmade in the right”.
When we connect with people, we have to speak their languages. Jargons are often used in companies and government where they speak in a language they understand and you don’t.
Siegel and Etzkorn; “This isn’t necessarily intentional, organizations get accustomed to using a kind of insider shorthand to communicate among themselves – no harm there. The problem occurs when internal jargon finds its way into external communication, which it inevitably and increasingly does. When this happens, companies are in effect talking to themselves in public”.
Here the authors makes us aware that the use of jargon is an important example of lack of empathy in cases when you fail to consider the frame of reference in how your message will be received.
Authors; “As a result, important messages can become lost in translation, making it impossible to reach across lines, connect, and collaborate”.
The authors, is questioning if a company is capable of transforming itself so that simplicity becomes part of its DNA. “The mission statement is only the beginning. Companies that embrace simplification must make sure that all of their communications and processes measure up to the highest standards of clarity”.
Here, the authors includes internal communication as well as the importance of external communication.
Back to Bennis; No leader sets out to be a leader. People set out to live their lives, expressing themselves fully. When that expression is of value, they become leaders”.
Bennis, makes us aware of how important it is to become yourself, to use yourself completely including your skills, gifts and energies if you want to make your vision manifest.
“So strike hard, try everything, do everything, render everything, and become the person you are capable of being”.
“Hope is a waking dream”. –Aristotle
Inger Lise E. Greger, MSc. Change Management