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December 6, 2013

By Mark Hannum

It’s the most wonderful (stressful) time of the year.

A number of things have been making an impression on me lately, including my own thinking about the holiday season. I look at the next five weeks and wonder how I am going to survive. Work, deliverables, new clients and new requests, parties, travel, relatives—it’s overwhelming. Three organizations I’m working with are looking to find ways to reduce the messages, the work, the number of choices. But we can’t … not really. It’s complicated. It is. That’s modern life, isn’t it? But then it hit me, my favorite game … making up words. What I need to do is “simplicate.” Enjoy and relish the nuances of the complexity, then act simply. Simplicate.

We can’t really just simplify. And we can’t just complicate.

We have to find the best of both worlds—we have to navigate the dilemma. We have to simplicate our lives, our processes, our systems, and our organizations. We have to find the right balance in managing the details, the little things that trip us up because we overlook them, or because we don’t have time for them, or because we don’t have the mental model to accommodate them.

We need to dig deep and come to a deeper understanding.

If we have the deep understanding, we can look at what we need to do with more clarity. We can start to chisel away all the normal things we do that have minimal or no impact. Let’s look at and find the stupid stuff that we’ve always done … and then not do it. Now that the stupid stuff is gone, let’s look for things to do that are meaningful. And fun! Or meaningful and impactful and fun. Or let’s just do the very few things that will actually make a significant difference.

As we move into this complicated and overwhelming time of year, let’s simplicate our lives. Let’s know deeply and act simply. Let’s get the most we can out of our lives.

Hannum_MarkMark Hannum is a Principal Consultant at Linkage. He partners with clients to create better business results that incorporate both organizational justice and effectiveness. An organization development consultant by training, Mark’s focus has been on understanding and improving executive processes and decision making.




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