Find the simplicity beyond complexity

Dennis Sparks

Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers. —Colin Powell

Simplicity and clarity are essential leadership tools. As leaders learn about new ideas and practices, their understanding naturally becomes more elaborate and nuanced. But sometimes the complexity such understanding can produce becomes a barrier to effective communication. When leaders pursue the clarity that resides beyond the complexity they find simple, everyday words, examples, and stories that enable them to explain their ideas with proverb-like clarity.

Today I will take a few minutes to practice expressing a complex idea in simple terms. For example, “Professional community means we support each other every day in finding practical ways to improve the learning of all our students to agreed upon standards. We’ll do that in our grade-level meetings and faculty meetings and during professional development sessions.”

[This “meditation” is one of 180 (one for every day of the traditional school year) provided in Leadership 180: Daily Meditations on School Leadership, my most recent book, published by Solution Tree.]

 

2 Responses to “Find the simplicity beyond complexity”


  1. 1 Wanda Dean June 2, 2014 at 8:00 am

    A powerful thought for a Monday morning. You reminded me of something important that I need to remember as I struggle with ways to present a concept to a group of teachers. Thank you!

    • 2 Dennis Sparks June 2, 2014 at 11:20 am

      The “curse of knowledge” sometimes makes it difficult for those with deep understanding of a subject to effectively teach it to those with a “beginner’s mind.” I wish you and your students well, Wanda.


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