Wednesday, 4 June 2014


I spied this quote recently from Andy Stanley – ‘Growth creates complexity, which requires simplicity’ while I was having a read of some articles about making the complex simple. 

I’m generally surrounded by a high level of complexity because of the role I do and the organisation I do it in, so I’ve come to expect a work life that involves a lot of being on my toes.  It often spills into home life as well, and in both areas I have to challenge myself to break down the complex.  Sometimes it’s for me, sometimes it’s for those around me.  My goal always remains the same though – reducing stress and keeping things straight forward!

The more time I spend coaching others the more it dawns on me that complexity is subjective.  Not coachees, but my grandparents have found their way of life for the last 4 years complex and stressful – my Nan had a stroke and being the fitter of the two (and general matriarch tendencies!) they have been thrown into a different way of existing ever since.  Now much of their complexity is completely self-created – they’ve changed about 10% of the way they live since her illness, when in reality it needs a major overhaul.  It creates an unnecessary amount of complexity for them and those that help them, but from their perspective keeping life as it was as much as possible is what keeps things normal and simple.  A psychologist would have a field day!

In an everyday environment I see many people dealing with their own kind of complexity – multiple projects, tricky deadlines, demanding line managers, mastering the ever challenging work/life balance.  So what do you do?  Curl up in a corner and crumble?  Or carry on regardless?

Whatever way you migrate to, have a think about these questions to help you along your way:
  •      What is the reality of the situation?
  •      Where is the complexity coming from?
  •          What would make this really simple?
  •          How can I make that happen?

I’m going to stop there with the questions, rather than over complicate it (!) with many more – but hopefully you get the gist.  As with most situations, the power of the question is huge here.  Trying to carry on in the same way you have always done or not looking for ways to simplify the way you work in a world of growing complexity will take you in a direction where your blood pressure rises unnecessarily and you get yourself caught up with stressful situations.

Happy simplifying x 

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