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As we're approaching Valentine's Day, I thought I would use a title that would embrace the mood. When I worked in manufacturing, they would use this enduring term "KISS" as an abbreviation to mean "Keep It Simple Stupid". Not to say we were stupid or to be demeaning, but to constantly remind us that the best solutions should be really Simple, easy to use, easy to follow, easy to explain, etc.

Just in case you have not read some of my other posts, I have been delayering an interaction I had with a barista a few weeks ago. Although they did everything right, they did not make the Connection. In the post I referenced their mission statement, "To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time." In which I love this mission statement. It definitely meets the KISS standard. Anyone could align and understand what the goal this company was trying to convey.

By meeting the KISS standard, leading in an organization like this should be Simple. If our job as leaders are to attract, select, develop, and retain top talent, having a mission statement that's Simple would reduce some of the ambiguity that goes along with leading others. Just imagine taking this mission statement and adopting it to all of our education organizations. "To inspire and nurture the human spirit -- one person, one cup [lesson], and one neighborhood at a time." Could you imagine how easy it would be to go in and assess our teachers, principals, superintendents, boards, custodians, nurses, cafeteria staff...? The reason a lot of organizations don't meet the KISS definition is because they may not want it to be that easy. The leaders may be fearful that if they made it that simple, someone else could do their job. Some would rather try to make it complex to keep you guessing on what they are really trying to accomplish (just a thought). There is complexity in Simple.

Keeping it Simple requires a lot of work. First, we need to know where we are going (mission) and why we chose this destination (purpose). Everyone in the organization needs to understand it and know how they contribute to making it happen. They should feel inspired to be there - no matter what role they have in the organization. This takes a tremendous amount of communication and ownership. The way we hire, select, develop, and retain top talent should be aligned to it. Our accountability and reward systems should mirror the same. We all know this, but we struggle to create and sustain it. Why? It goes back to Courage!

I have heard from some people that sometimes it's just easier to go with the flow, collect a check, and wait for retirement. If that's true for you, you are doing a disservice to your clients, customers, staff, students, and family. You have to be courageous and be the guardian of your organization's mission and your commitments even when things are challenging. We are not measured when things are going well, we are measured when it gets tough.

I could only imagine that when the manager hired his barista, he was looking to fill a position and not fulfill a commitment to his customers.


We always have a choice, what will yours be today?


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