We live in a world reeking of complexity. We add more and more things, more activities, and more options. You can’t buy a pizza or even go to the grocery store without being overwhelmed by layer upon layer of complexity.
For people, organizations, and movements to be successful into the 21st Century, we’re going to have to learn the elegance of simplicity. Instead of trying to do everything, and have everything, and go everyplace, and experience everything, were going to learn how to simplify our lives. As you have this discussion among your group about simplicity, here are seven advantages to talk about. Simplicity gives you an advantage because:
1. It will allow your message to get through. We’re told that we have over 4,000 advertisements that come across our eyes and ears every day. We’re learning how to be sophisticated about filtering out messages that are too complex and difficult. It’s the simple message that gets through. You need to be able to give your company, movement, or personal mantra in four words or less, minus prepositions. More than that and you just simply blend in and become static and white noise.
2. It will keep you focused on a few things. Finding smaller markets and niches is the way of the future; focusing on being the best at a few things instead of mediocre at a lot of things. The old days of when you could throw a bunch of things against the wall and hope that some of them would stick are long gone. Simplicity allows you to figure out what you’re absolutely best at, what you’re passion and what your “must do” is, and focus on that.
3. It will free up your time from having to write these big, thick, heavy manuals about policy and procedure. If you have big manuals that people have to spend months learning before they can really find traction at organization, your future is bleak.
4. It will allow you the energy of not having to pay attention to 90% of the email, social media, and printed material that come across your desk. Be careful about how much time you spend distracted in handling emails and social media that has nothing to do with your vision and mission.
5. It will let you know who’s with you. When you have a simple vision, a simple mission, and compelling mantra, it’s easy to know who’s on task and who isn’t; who’s with you and who’s not. Those who argue about your stated vision and simple process are not with you. And trying to convince them to be with you when they are on the company payroll is an effort in futility.
6. It will allow you to create margin in your life and in your organization. Emotional, financial, and physical margin are critical during times of crisis. You need to be able to have the energy to sprint as well as jog. That requires margin. Financial margin is also important because when markets turn, you need to have enough cash to stay in business until they turn again. And they inevitably do.
7. It will keep you from markets, products, and programs as a quick fix, rather than sticking with what you have a long-term passion for.
Not only am I a follower of Jesus Christ, I admire Him. I admire His simplicity. He had the power to take complex issues and make them simple; not simplistic, but simple. Just because a thing is simple doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it’s the place to start.