Neil Young tells an interesting story about the struggles of conducting his sound check for the 2011 Farm Aid concert in Kansas City. The venue was a large soccer stadium and all the acts were having the same problem. “So the next day at the show, when I was watching everyone play, adjusting their monitors all the time, trying to find a good sound and struggling. I used nomonitors at all. I just didn’t bother using any.” (Neil Young, Waging HeavyPeace, 1012).
Think about this simple solution. As leaders, we solve problems. This typically means devising a complicated system, training people and developing metrics to ensure proper use. Maybe the first thing we should do is see if removing something (or everything) from the problem solves it better than adding to it. A mentor a long time ago told me to try to remove something for everything I added. He said people that work for you will remember you made their job easier. I remember an IT director long ago used the “Y2K threat” as the catalyst to cancel over 500 reports her team did not think were used. In January 2000, only one of the reports were asked for and it was by the person that carries it, not someone that wanted to read it!
What have you canceled lately? Do you solve with simplification? Are you viewed are the leader who removes as much as she adds?