I just read this month's issue of Fortune Magazine and the main story was titled, "The Best Advice I Ever Got." It included some great insight from all kinds of people in the world of business, sports, politics, etc. As I read through the article I realized a theme among many of these great leaders. That theme was simplicity. It struck me how the best advice often revolves around making things simpler. From Tiger Woods to Warren Buffet to Bill Gates...many of the worlds' top leaders have been given the advice to keep it simple.
As I thought about that at 1:00 AM, which seems to be when I do my best thinking, I realized how complicated we make things. Then I asked myself, "Why? Why do we complicate things?" The more I thought about it the more I realized it has a lot to do with our personality style. As an example, the DRIVER type may complicate things just so they can "fix" the problems it created by complicating things in the first place. Talk about self-sabotage!
So I'll pass on the advice...KEEP IT SIMPLE! Break it down to the lowest common denominator and make it happen. I'll leave you with this great advice that Colin Powell got when he was a young man in the Army. It got me thinking about why I do what I do and why I love it...it's simple!
When I was a young infantry officer at Fort Benning, we had a lot of old captains who had served in World War II and Korea. They were not going to go higher in rank, but, boy, did they know about soldiering. So I didn't learn this piece of barracks wisdom from an Eisenhower or Pershing. I heard it from these wonderful reserve captains. This is the story: There was a brand-new second lieutenant who was very ambitious and wanted to be a general. So one night at the officer's club the young officer spotted this old general sitting at the bar. So he went up and said, "How do I become a general?" And the old general answered, "Son, you've got to work like a dog. You've got to have moral and physical courage. There may be days you're tired, but you must never show fatigue. You'll be afraid, but you can never show fear. You must always be the leader." The young officer was so excited by this advice. "Thank you, sir," he said, "so is this how I become a general?" "No," said the general, "that's how you become a first lieutenant, and then you keep doing it over and over and over." Throughout my career, I've always tried to do my best today, think about tomorrow, and maybe dream a bit about the future. But doing your best in the present has to be the rule. You won't become a general unless you become a good first lieutenant.