More on Simplicity

This morning, I was reflecting more about simplicity. I see my tendency; more dominate in the past, but still present, to offer complex explanations for how the world works. Each time, I follow these complex stories, I find that I feel more confused and less certain. At the same time, I increase my projected confidence. I don’t want others to know of my uncertainty.

This is fairly common. One of my teachers, Will Schutz, spoke of three levels of understanding. The first is simplistic. When I am first introduced to something that really makes sense, I embrace it and want to tell others. This first level of understanding is more of an emotional response than true learning. When someone asks penetrating questions of what I say I’ve learned, I find my ability to speak deeply about what I’ve learned is quickly exhausted.

The second level of learning is complexity. When I become more competent with the area of learning, say medicine, I begin using its specialized language and distinctions. I believe I am using my mastery to converse with my colleagues, and it is not important for me to make what I know understandable to the uninformed. As I mentioned above, my personal reaction to people who push hard to test what I know is to become arrogant, and my integrity slips.

Will said the final level of understanding is simplicity. This occurs when I become an authentic master of the area; so much so, I can speak to anyone in a way that I’m understood. This level of mastery is rare and when you are in the company of it you know.

Being able to write and speak with simplicity is my goal. When I do this, I can see recognition in people’s eyes or in their comments, if I am communicating with them remotely. At this level of simplicity, we have opportunities that don’t exist in the other two levels of learning.

Tomorrow, I will spend time talking about the dramatic impact finding simplicity can be for you personally, and for any organization you are part of.

Until then,


Author: Thomas White

Over the past thirty-five years, Thomas White has created and led private and public organizations that initiated breakthroughs in areas as diverse as computer software, publishing, printing, market research, leadership development and organizational change. The common ingredients in his success are simple. He looked beyond the limitations that others believed and found real solutions to needs that business leaders have. He attracted the best talent to translate these innovative solutions into practical products and services that were of high value to customers. He created cultures where people love what they do, work at their best and produce extraordinary results. In addition to his role as a business leader, Thomas has been a pioneer and inventor of technologies in the computer-networking field. He is a patent holder for innovations in business process and workflow technology. As part of his passion for educating others about the interface of human and computer systems, he was the co-author of “New Tools for New Times, The Workflow Paradigm”. He has also written articles for numerous publications. In 2001, he turned his attention from leading companies to supporting leadership teams in creating organizations of excellence. After many years of being a part of the machine of change, Thomas recognized that business is the most powerful force in the world. It has a major impact on public policy and governments everywhere. It is a key influence on how we use our resources and sets an example of the values that shape communities from local to global. He formed the consulting firm of Profoundly Simple to be a guide for exemplary leaders - leaders who wisely uses the power they are entrusted with to serve their constituencies first and themselves second; leaders who know that it is good business to treat people with respect, honor the environment and act with impeccable integrity – leaders who inspire greatness in those around them and by doing so create great organizations that are notable examples of success. Feeling the itch to get back into the game again, Thomas joined with two long time friends, to start the C-Suite Network. This network of business leaders offers an online network, events, services, and insights to its 500,000 member community. In addition, the C-Suite Network produces and distributes television and radio content to an audience of over 5M per month

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