I’m going to riff on a recent podcast by Patrick Lencioni. In the podcast, Sophistication Sucks Patrick and Cody discuss how simplicity is an advantage to which most people don’t subscribe. The hosts discuss how most people strive for more complexity because it makes us feel more important and inflates our egos. 

In the podcast, Patrick talks about how many of his ideas are simple. Some people feel that applying the principles is beneath them. It made me stop and think about the way that I approach project management. Sometimes (often), I make it too complicated and hard to follow. I do this because it feels like there are so many opportunities that we can harness. We think that if we become more sophisticated, we can take advantage of every chance. 

In reality, I often get too complicated for a few reasons: 

  1. I want to show others that I know more than they do. This is my insecurity and desire for recognition shining through. 
  2. I am worried that people will think that my simple solutions are too shallow. I pander to other people’s desire for complexity, even when it isn’t good for them. 
  3. I don’t understand the problem, or the potential solutions, well enough to make it simple. I should take the desire to make things complex as a flag that I need to get a better understanding of what we are talking about. 

If you make things simple, you will be able to help more people. Simple doesn’t mean ineffective, stupid, or lacking elegance. Simple means “Easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty.” [Oxford Dictionary