February 24, 2018

Aiming for less to get more

GatheringIt’s a funny thing…

Sometimes we need to aim for less, to get more.

In leadership and management, it’s tempting to demand a great deal from another person in the hope of getting some of it. Actually, we risk getting none at all if they are demoralised by the seeming impossibility of the expectation, or if trying to meet it makes things impossibly complicated.

That’s not to say that we should accept only what the other person thinks is possible.


We can push for them to exceed their own expectations, just not in such a way that our vision is wholly out of sight. And we need to know they can do it.

In my view, we’ll do better if we stay within reach of what they think is possible.

It’s like towing a ship: Pull too hard and the tow line will break. And forward movement will stop.

All of this is brought home to me with my son with special needs… We realise that learning sometimes needs to proceed in tiny steps, matched to his pace, otherwise we don’t move forward at all: The flow of knowledge stops, he disengages, and we end up with nothing.

The principle is the same with the rest of us: The steps might be bigger, but the need to preserve the connection remains.

Life’s too short…

Maze…to have such a long process.

Sometimes, we get carried away with the thoroughness of the process we put in place. Yes, we need to do a diligent job, but good enough is good enough.

Arguably, that’s one lesson of Apple’s success—implementing enough features but not every possible feature. Sometimes it’s frustrating not to have a certain option, but overall the system is more useful and more useable. Less is often more.


Where might you shorten your process?

Have you really got enough time to keep it complicated?


My new book “The Mastery of Leadership” is now available on Amazon – “incredibly relevant and thought-provoking.”