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Albert Einstein rewrote the rules of relativity with a simple equation, E=MC2.

Steve Jobs drove Apple’s product innovation by taking things away from their products rather than adding to them.

Bill Shankly, the famous Liverpool FC football manager was quoted as saying, “Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes.”

So why do the rest of us make things so complicated?

Whether it’s the corporate strategy that gets added to little by little until it’s a bloated beast of a plan, the organisation structure designed with good intentions that ultimately puts barriers in the way of collaboration and teamwork, or the new product development idea where features are loaded on top of one another until it’s so confusing that the customer is lost.

Even at an individual level we tie ourselves up in knots making things complicated on the assumption that this will be more impressive to our bosses and colleagues. There are always more objectives, more goals, more meetings and more actions. It can become an addiction.

Does all of this sound familiar?

So what can you do about it?

If you want to keep things pure and simple, here’s what to do….

  1. Have a vision. Be clear about what you want to achieve and how you want to get there.
  2. Say no. As I wrote in my post The Right Thing Right, get comfortable with being uncomfortable by saying no to the things that add complexity or take you away from your vision.
  3. Be patient. Simplicity will take longer to achieve so have the patience and confidence to let it shine through.

Don’t sell the dream you should be keeping pure and simple….just for you!


About the song: “Pure” is one of a huge number of songs written by Ian Broudie (the man behind the Lightning Seeds) that immediately has people tapping their foot or humming along. There are magical moments on all three of the Lightning Seeds’ studio albums and most obviously the football anthem par excellence “Three Lions”.