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KISS

No, not the rock band, the song by Prince (when he was still Prince), or the lip-smacking display of affection. This KISS is the wise, old adage to “Keep It Simple, Stupid!”, and it’s a reminder that simple is always much more effective than complicated.

Now I’m not saying that complicated is wrong. Quite the contrary. But chances are, folks don’t come to you looking for complicated. And I bet you haven’t had a lot of luck trying to persuade your semi-interested boss/customer/team to embrace complicated solutions in the past, no matter how good they might have been. But we can fix that with just a KISS.

First, if your concept is complicated, reduce it to simple steps. Then you can teach what was complex simply, over time.

Second, use fewer words. I see this all the time… Folks trying to dress up or oversell an under-thought idea by throwing more words at it. A key to simplifying is clarified thought expressed with fewer words.

Third, know what you know. Guessing leads to lots of hypothesizing expressed with lots of words. Keep quiet until you find the solution, and then express it simply.

And fourth, teach others – the committed ones – to embrace complexity, to explore complexity, and to grapple with complexity. That’s what thinkers and problem solvers do. But then they must learn to employ steps 1-3 above with a KISS.

Because you can’t deliver complicated to someone who just wants you to Keep It Simple, Stupid!.

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