Fast Company March : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Fast Company March 2000

Want to Lead Better? It's Simple by Bill Jensen >p> Jill Rosenfeld's article about Bill Jensen's book, Simplicity made me quite excited. His comments on simplicity-and how we use time, leadership, and the links between- deal with change. During these busy days in my life I have spent much time wondering about this fast pace life we live in. Jensen claims, "Knowledge work is all about how we use one another's time and attention. Given just minutes good leaders can affect how we think, what we decide and ultimately what we create." Jensen runs a consulting firm in New Jersey where he simplified information for clients such as Walt Disney World, Warner, Lamber Co. and Duracell which helps them in making clearer choices in a complex world.

During an interview with Fast company, Jensen offered some not so obvious insights about the hard work of keeping things simple: Why is it so difficult to keep organizations focused and effective? You have to start with the assumption that most people in most organizations want to do the right thing, but in a world of infinite choices, people are struggling to figure out what is right. Why aren't leaders better at being leaders? Because they pretend that challenges of leadership are rational and tactical rather than emotional and conversational. What else does a leader need in order to lead people to action? A sense of clarity. Any definition of success must include three measures; results, milestone and what successful behavior looks like. People need to know what effect success will have on how they and their teammates interact- and on what they devote their time and attention to.

I think of myself as a person with good common sense. I feel this is an important attribute to succeed. However, I am constantly struggling with people who (IMHO) like to make the simple complex, vague, and somewhat mystical-the work of "Great Minds"! What I found (in teaching, coaching, or just working with others) the more you can make strategies make sense and useful for every person, the more it makes sense. And the more you focus on the needs, the more we are able to design and execute what works better for them. And low and behold, it actually worked better for the collective "you" too.

Jensen explains simplicity is power. Power to succeed by doing more of what is important and less of what isn't. Simplicity is a revolution that changes how we use people's time attention. Simplicity means changing many of today's rules about how work get done.

Jensen identifies the Simple Seven in his book. 1. Enough is enough. Our work complexity comes from making sense of the clutter and confusion companies create. 2. Our time is as precious and important as business results. 3. It's time for common sense. Simpler companies are user centered. 5. Simplicity takes trust, community and common purpose to new heights. 6. Simplicity starts with you. 7. Simplicity starts with me. We accept personal accountability.

This article on simplicity really peaked my interest because I have been thinking along this line-of-thought for some time now. I have noticed that time is the precious thing. I keep finding myself continually wanting more time. I have rationalized to myself saying things like when my volleyball season's over, or when I get through Christmas, or when I get the research paper done.. I will have more time. It's amazing how that day never comes. I am always looking for more time. I don't know if it's because of our fast moving society and it's demands or just my inability to make enough minutes in the day. I do know that simplicity is the key. Making a conscientious effort for reducing the "responsibilities" or "clutter" would make life simpler. I can see that I can learn from Jensen's opinion of simplicity being the key to success and quality of life.

-- Anonymous, March 30, 2000

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