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ATD Blog



Wed Dec 05 2012


Everything has gotten too complicated. It’s time to simplify!

Simplify Email!

  • Quit guessing. Too much time and too many words are the result of not knowing how the recipient will react. Don’t guess. Get face-to-face or pick up the phone.

  • Make your request in the first sentence. If you can’t, email probably isn’t the tool you need.

  • Treat the “Reply All” option like a contagious disease.

Simplify Decisions!

  • Quit wasting time on inconsequential decisions. Flip a coin and move on.

  • Important decisions deserve clear decision criteria and time spent generating new options.

  • Agree on the destination before arguing about the route.

  • Don’t make the same decisions over and over. A routine or standard practice is a decision made permanent.

Simplify Meetings!

  • Never start a meeting without knowing what needs to be different when it ends.

Simplify Priorities!

  • Choose! If you have many priorities, you don’t have any priorities. People can only handle a few at a time.

Simplify Motivation!

  • You can love the activity, love the result, or love neither. The latter requires the most attention.

  • Recruit talent and energy, and then match that talent to the right position to avoid having to manage those who love neither the activity, nor the result.

Simplify Goals!

  • See “Simplify Priorities!” and “Simplify Motivation!”

  • Clarify what success will look and feel like before you begin.

  • Reduce big goals to concrete next steps with tangible outcomes.

Simplify Project Management!

  • Don’t let a “complete” plan create the illusion that everything’s under control. Plans fail.

  • Avoid the tendency to focus on planning the obvious and making quick progress on the easy.

  • Concentrate on learning what you don’t know and anticipating problems.

Simplify Workloads!

  • There are only five effective ways to prevent work overload: accomplish more, expect less, postpone, delegate/outsource, or abandon.

  • There is only one ineffective way: choosing none of the five.

Simplify Accountability!

  • Get on the same team. Team members win and lose together.

  • Replace “hold accountable” with “help succeed.”

Simplify Roles and Responsibilities!

  • Define roles and responsibilities around processes and their business outcomes, not one individual at a time.

  • Establish clear ownership and authority for tangible outcomes essential to the organization’s business outcomes.

Simplify Delegation!

  • If trust is a factor, you are thinking too much about the person and not enough about the process.

  • Examine the process and identify who is best positioned to establish objectives, generate alternatives, identify risks, gather input, brainstorm ideas, assign resources, create deadlines, review, and authorize. In many cases, it makes no sense for one person to do all of the above.

  • Monitor the process, not the person, to improve results without damaging relationships.

What can you simplify starting today?

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