Become More Effective Keep It Simple

Keeping it simple and becoming more effective go together. It occurred to me while doing my 2008 goals, that I was making things a lot more difficult and complicated than I had to. Then it occurred to me: my Number One Goal for 2008 is to "Keep It Simple." I know, that doesn't meet the standards of SMART goals - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time specific.

But what a relief to just say "Keep it simple, Andy" - very liberating - and with great potential to improve my effectiveness It's not an easy goal. There have been so many years of putting together really specific, milestone charted, correctly stated goals and supporting plans. It's so tempting to expand requirements, plug in sub goals, set up precise progress and process charts - all in the name of better planning.

And then I'm reminded of what our military says about plans - "They are critical, but they don't survive first contact with the enemy." In other words, you gotta plan, but keep complexity to a minimum - it has negative value when it comes to responding to the real world. I can buy that. It's going to be a real trip to just go for the most important things, keep my eye on the ball, and keep telling myself that simple is good and complex is bad.

A "ready, fire, aim" behavior. It's a real behavior shift - but I can already see how it can make me more effective and successful. Let's face it, most of us know what we need to do, we know how to do it, and we just need to get on with it. And that's the rub - at least for me. It's easier to plan than to act - it's easier to consider all the pro's and con's than to act - it's easier to make things more complicated than it is to simplify - it's easier to analyze all the consequences than it is to act. And in all those perfectly legitimate functions lies the potential to fail.

Preparation taken too far is a recipe for failure - and yet preparation seems to be leading to success. Up to a point it's true - after a point it's an illusion. Joe Vitale, in his excellent book "The Attractor Factor" makes the statement that "money likes speed.

" Harry Beckwith, in "Selling The Invisible" says " don't let perfect get in the way of good." I think I know what they mean. I'm going to start today to Keep It Simple. How? By not putting this article away and coming back to it from time to time, and revising it and redrafting it. I'm just going to submit it - now. In whatever endeavors you find yourself right now, keep it simple.

Keep it simple today.

Andy Cox helps clients align their resources and design and implement change through the application of goals focused on the important few elements that have maximum impact in achieving success - as defined by the client. He can be reached at or

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