Volume 74, May 2007: Simplify

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2007 ISSN # 1545-8873

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary, so that the necessary may speak.” — Hans Hoffman

“Our life is frittered away by detail … Simplify, simplify, simplify.” — Henry David Thoreau

“Simplify, simplify, until all contamination from relative contradictory thinking is eliminated. Then one does nothing, yet nothing is left undone. One who wins the world does so, not by meddling with it. One who meddles with the world loses it.” — Tao Te Ching, Lao-Tzu

“What's man’s best friend (besides the dog)? The wastebasket.” — Business Week


  • What’s Hot in Leadership
  • Maintaining Yourself as a Leader
  • Frequently Asked Questions from Leaders
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Useful Websites & Newsletters
  • Articles/Publications

What’s Hot in Leadership

  • Promoting value-added activity.
  • Streamlining processes and activities.
  • Focusing on the important.
  • Living simply and well.

Maintaining Yourself as a Leader

Time is a valuable commodity that we cannot manufacture more of. There will never be enough time to do everything you have to do. In fact, most people are working at 110-130% of their capacity. And the average executive has 300-400 hours of reading and projects on back-log (Tracy, 2001). This means you will never be caught up.

If you truly believe what is said – that 40-60% of our budgets are filled with waste – doesn’t it behoove you to clean up your organization? What if you conducted a campaign to streamline and simplify across the board, starting in your own workspace and business life?

Frequently Asked Questions

“How do I begin to clean up the tangle?”
Question everything: Why do we do this? Who uses this? What do the end users really need and want from us? Simple formula: Remove one piece of non-value-adding activity a day and add one act of grace.
“How do I embark on a journey to simplicity?”
The principles of reduction, organization and efficiency are not about blindly trimming away, but making best use for.
Simple, adj. 1: without embellishment; 2:clarity of form and thought; 3: fundamental.
John Maeda has said that “the intellectual approach to simplicity is to reduce details, whereas the intuitive approach to simplicity is to add subtlety. The beauty of subtlety is that it is usually weightless, hard-to-detect, and, by most accounts, invisible. In other words, it is the style of something gained from nothing.”
“My well-being is tied to my livelihood. Does this mean that less money makes happiness?”
For many, money is the only measure of their success and self-worth. At the same time, many feel they are sacrificing their happiness at the altar of their ambitions. True, money is important, and influences all aspects of out lives. But what if we focused on how we spend our energy? How can you create money today, that will “add value” to your life and to the universe? Your focus becomes having life energy rather than trading money for our life’s energy.
“Paper is my nightmare. Suggestions?”
Move paper out, trying to handle each piece only once. (this goes for electronic pieces as well). “TRAF” it. T=TRASH it; R=REFER it; A=ACT on it; or F=FILE it (or READ it). The companion tools are: a wastebasket, a referral folder, an action box, a to-be-filed box, and a reading folder. Better yet, stop it at its source.


Maeda at MIT educates us on the laws and links: The Laws of Simplicity.

The Simple Living Network, with online discussions and free newsletter: Simple Living Forums.

Learn how to live life simply and well: The Guide To Living Well.

Key Associates offers instruction in how to streamline your organization: Creative Tools and Methods for Innovation and The New Leadership.

Useful Websites & Newsletters

The Laws of Simplicity.

RealSimple: Life Made Easier (magazine, TV, website) RealSimple.

Keyzines on related topics: , Lean Does Not Have to Be Mean, Bureaucracy, Picture of a Process, Lean Organizations, and Mindfulness.



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