Is simple thought leadership as valuable as something elaborate?

A recent conversation with friend and co-author Jennifer V. Miller about the value of leadership fables caused me to examine my love of simplicity in business, leadership and life.

Is one easier to remember than the other?

Personally I love simplicity and I appreciate it when it flows out of others.  I learn faster, I leverage the new knowledge faster, and I retain it longer.  And yet, I’ve struggled to value simplicity when it flows out of me.

When I transitioned from being a Youth Director to the business world I worried:  

  • That I would not be sophisticated enough.

And then I started reading Blanchard’s leadership fables. They were simple, easy to understand, and quickly increased my knowledge and my passion for business, leadership and service.

When I wanted to build a highly engaged team that would make an extraordinary difference, I hoped that an uncommon approach would unleash that dream.

Their results and energy exceeded my wildest dreams.

When I hosted my first event for executives and their families I worried:

  •  That popping popcorn, playing limbo, and having crawfish races might seem juvenile.

They loved it!

When I entered the consulting world I worried again:

  • “What if my simple approach was too simple?”
  • “Could I actually get the kind of work I wanted to do, considering that there were with other more sophisticated consultants?”

And then I read this:

…And then I smiled and brought my simple (and playful) self.  (Hula-hoops, chocolate, music and stories are standard operating procedure.)

About a month ago I listened to a message from Jack Canfield and was delighted to learn that he had similar concerns when he transitioned from a very successful High School Teacher to Corporate Training.

When he expressed his concern about not being able to relate to professionals in the business world he was told, They’re just big kids in suits.

Walking back through those lessons reminded me:

  1. Why I love simplicity so much.
  2. That we are more successful when we bring our authentic selves to everything we do.

How about you?

  1. How do you like it served: simple or elaborate?
  2. How are you honoring your authentic self?

Special thanks to:

President, Giana Consulting

Chery Gegelman is an adventurer that loves to learn. ...Deep conversations, books, travel, and daily living are all food for growth.

As a speaker, facilitator and workshop leader she creates energizing environments that reflect God's grace, tear down walls, help people to consider new perspectives, and inspire change.

Chery is the Founder of Giana Consulting and Conversation Safari's, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

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13 thoughts on “Is simple thought leadership as valuable as something elaborate?

  1. Chery,

    It’s always so fascinating to read your perspectives on thing. I love how you took our conversation to a whole new level. AND I’m reconsidering how I might make things even more “simple” than before.

  2. Hi Chery

    Loved the post and agree entirely with your thoughts. In addition, simplicity aids clarity and develops better understanding.

    I’ve also played ‘games’ with corporate officer types for the past 10 years, at least, and I can only recall one occasion when one individual didn’t want to play ball!

    Kind regards


  3. What I hear you saying is that we need to resist the temptation to step into all the “formulas” and instead, be ourselves, keeping a simple focus on who we are and how WE are wired to do things. I love it. I’ve learned that lesson in small bits, the hard way.

  4. Simplicity is not simple. The art of simplicity is to take a complex thought and make it clear and actionable. And it’s the challenge I enjoy most in blogging – how to clearly explain your thoughts in as few words as possible. You’ve done an excellent job at it in your post, Chery. (ps. much thanks for your nod).

    • Jesse – I love how you phrased this, The art of simplicity is to take a complex thought and make it clear and actionable.” Thank you for your comment and your compliment. Thank you even more for being a real live, touchable leader not just the author of a great book!

  5. I find it’s actually harder to make complex things simple… getting down to the most simple idea takes time and effort on the communicator and makes things easier for others. That’s such an important part of leadership.

  6. Hi Chery,

    Simple doesn’t mean simplistic. As Karin said, it’s much hard to transform a complex subject into elegant simplicity than it is to do the reverse (over-engineer a simple subject into a complicated mess).

    Let’s keep it simple!


    • Randy – Thank you! You are blessed to work with an organizaiton I’ve admired for years and you model the power of simplicity all the time.

  7. Pingback: Thursday Thought Leadership Roundup: Keeping it Simple, The Social CEO, and the Future of Reputation | via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad