Every person wants to simplify their business or work life. Make things easier or smoother, while at the same time trying to not neglect someone or something … taking care to provide for their customer’s or employee’s needs while not abandoning their own.

Simplicity clarifies what is important and what isn’t. It’s about taking something that is complex or convoluted and making it clear and effortless. Complexity leads to placing the urgent ahead of the important. Then your goal gets lost in the confusion.

Simplicity is not having or doing less. It’s not “dumbing” down. It’s not limiting your curiosity. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Simplicity works because it is based on common sense. Doctors listen to parents; advertisers listen to customers. Volvo’s target market is the 35-year-old mother with two children. Why? Because they know their demographic: women who are astute at what makes sense to them. They listen to their inner guide of what is right.

For the last 10 years, people are fearlessly showing their strength of trusting what they know and feel in the workplace. They are making the complex clear; finding success by creating order that still encourages active change, the surfacing of ideas, innovations and learning.

People understand that this kind of order results from producing simplicity and meaning for people doing the work. People crave order not just for order’s sake but for the sake of building, sharing and producing.

You’ve heard the phrase, “People tolerate management’s logic but act on their own conclusions.” What this means is that no matter the extent to which people are trained or confused, they will always depend on and trust their own observations, their gut, their intuition – all things you innately posses.

2 Foundations of Simplicity

Now, making something simpler is hard work. With practice it does get easier. But first you need to understand the two foundations of creating simplicity: human nature and human needs.

Human nature is the ways of thinking, acting and reacting that are common to most or all human beings or ways that are learned in social situations. If you could master knowledge of human nature, you could become more powerful, influential, and productive. But it would also make you more caring, understanding, and loving. It’s not a manipulation tool, but a tool to bring people closer together. It’s about making things happen without pain.

Human needs are motivators that must be satisfied for an individual to feel complete. Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, they are: the need for survival, to feel safe, for love and belonging, to feel worthy and respected, and to have self-fulfillment and achievement.

If you were to look at any one of these needs and dismiss it in the workplace or your business, what would happen? Productivity would suffer, morale would plummet, and desire would disappear.

It’s clear that to attain simplicity on your business, you need to become a master of human nature and a proprietor of human needs. So, where do you begin?

Become a Master of (Your) Human Nature

First, human nature has everything to do with choices. You have choices every day. Some you created; most you didn’t. It’s how you frame (human nature) your choices that lead to simplicity or complexity. How do you choose to lead? How do you use your time? What needs do you pay attention to? Simplicity happens when your company is designed so you can navigate endless choices.

Second, study patterns even when in the midst of chaos. When you learn these patterns, simple rules and answers come to light. It’s about making sense of all the information you have in front of you. For example, one pattern of human nature is that when directions are given, you still need to make sense of what they mean – to you. And when that happens is when you will act.

Third, your role in interpersonal relationships is largely determined by your personality. Use a tool like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator to discover as much as you can about personality and archetypes. Learn what makes people tick, how they make sense of their world, and what they truly need and value. When you make things complex is when you lose touch with human nature and human needs.

Human nature makes you extraordinary. You want to do the right thing and make a difference. So, exercise your ability to make simplicity a part of your life. Because simplicity is power!


From regional manager to international executive with quadruple the pay, Karen Keller’s unique blueprint carefully outlined the step-by-step process for creating high-impact influence and let me know when I was being influenced in a way that didn’t serve me.
Lloyd Moore
Global Director Supplier Quality & Development - Lear Corporation – South Carolina