Power Play: To be simple is to be great

Power Play: To be simple is to be great

“To be simple is to be great.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, who wrote these seven words, stated what is absolutely true.

So much of our lives are deliberately wrapped up in complexity. We love to add layers and layers of confusion and intrigue when none is required.

Power Players love to pare it back. They don’t need fancy words, impressive strategies and convoluted theories to show how smart they are. They worked out long ago that true greatness is to be found in cutting through the pretence and hyperbole.

To be clear and simple in thought and deed, to give direct and uncomplicated instructions, to take the shortest route to the finish line, to use five words when everyone else uses 50: these are all things that make for a great Power Player.

The story

The best boss I ever had could take the most complex, convoluted plans and turn them into simple English. Simple but not simplistic.

He never buried the headline and he explained things in a way that a four year old could understand, but never in a way that was condescending or patronising. He could still distil it all in an incredibly entertaining way as well.

Where others dedicated energy to making it complex and elaborate, he would pause before speaking, giving himself enough time to make it crystal and clean. Even his choice of words was straightforward: he would use 10 where others would use 50.

Simple is elegant. Simple is beautiful. And the great minds know it.

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