(From Mission to Millionaireship)
“Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
The greatest philosophers, composers, artists, scientists, inventors and business moguls in history all agree that the essence of genius is simplicity. It is the small thinkers, posers and pretenders who would argue otherwise.
Therefore, develop a personal and organizational bias toward simplicity. In the development and execution of your plans, always look for the simplest explanations, the simplest methods, the simplest designs, the simplest organizational structure, the simplest way to get from point A to point B. Respect always the axiom that form should follow function. If your plan (or product) is overly complex, step back, reevaluate. Chances are, it can be simplified and, in the process, made better, cheaper, faster or stronger.
Recognize and resist the human tendency to complicate matters. Strive to maintain an organization with the fewest levels of hierarchy, least amount of formal structure and minimum number of rules necessary to function. Do not erect barriers to communication where they are not required. Give up the notion that you can create a manual to cover all situations. You will never be able to anticipate (or memorialize in writing) all of the crazy, counterproductive and nonsensical things that people can and will find to do to sabotage your efforts and theirs. Therefore, make common sense a prerequisite for admission to your club. Remember the von Hammerstein Directive (page 17). Avoid persons whose initiative grossly outpaces their intelligence, especially those who insist on needlessly complicating tasks, designs, projects or structures. Connect the dots. See the forest.
Give your personnel the freedom to operate independently, creatively and responsibly – and insist that they do so. Exorcise the posers from any position in your organization. Let it be known that you are neither awed nor intimidated by the superfluities of the ostensible intellectual but that you do appreciate any useful concept that can be simply, clearly and concisely communicated. Simply put, you will get better results when you and your team focus on and seek out the most simple, elegant, powerful solutions.