Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Simplicity, Clarity and Leadership

Leadership is often marked by a determined effort to simplify organizational structures, procedures and vision/mission statements. This characteristic of simplicity might be one of the most enduring aspects of effective leadership. Søren Kierkegaard famously defined simplicity as purity of heart, the desire of "one thing". For Christian leadership this is the desire for God's Kingdom and His righteousness.
At the beginning of this new year, where do we start in this process of simplifying? Thomas Merton offers good advice: "The greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our minds and makes all political and social life a mass illness. Without this housecleaning we cannot see. Unless we see, we cannot think. The purification must begin with the mass media. How?"

Merton's question is a good place to start. How do I simplify the barrage of information that I am exposed to every day?

Further Reading:
Merton, T. 1966. Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. New York: Doubleday.