Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Making leadership about creating and conveying simplicity

Posted in strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on December 31, 2013

I have repeatedly returned to the question of leadership and of what constitutes effective leadership in this blog and I do so again here, where I address the interrelated issues of simplicity and complexity, and of clarity and ambiguity.

Effective leaders lead; they bring others to want to follow them and their vision and their strategic pursuit of larger goals. And ultimately, this only works when would-be followers can clearly understand where they would be led, and when they can buy in on the goals that their leader sets before them.

• Complexity, and certainly disconnected and unprioritized complexity confuse. They raise questions as to whether a would-be leader knows where they would lead. Complexity and lack of focus lead to ambiguity and uncertainty.

I am at least in part writing here of the dangers to leadership of micromanaging and of appearing to micromanage. Micromanagers, at heart, lack an effective capacity to prioritize and to focus in their efforts on what is most important for them to do. And they do not know how to leave what should be the work of others to those others. This lack of seeming focus and direction in what they themselves do makes their larger vision and their overall goals seem cloudy and ambiguous too.

• Ambiguity breeds avoidable complexity and the combination of the two breaks the supporting, organizing links of shared purpose that leaders need to build with the people they work with and that effective leadership builds from.
• Understanding and clarity of focus at least bring opportunity for simplicity.
• Simplicity and clarity of focus makes for better strategy, more effective operational execution and increased business success, as well as individual success.

Know what you are trying to accomplish and exactly what you need to do to reach your goals – and trim out the extras that do not support this.

Make it easier for others to do this too.

I offer this brief and perhaps tersely worded posting for New Year’s Eve day, December 31, 2013. But I also offer it as one that I have thought about a great deal. If you lead others, ask yourself where in your leadership practice you create extra complexity and ambiguity and where you can create and convey a message of simplicity and focused purpose. If you follow the lead of others, learn from their examples and both from the positives and the negatives of this experience, so that you can become more the leader who you yourself would wish to follow.

You can find this posting at Business Strategy and Operations – 3 and related ones at Page 1 and Page 2 of that directory. And you can also find related postings at Social Networking and Business and HR and Personnel.

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