[March 1, 2018] One of the first things that I learned from my military instructors on how to be a leader was to keep things simple. That’s not exactly what they said, it was keep it simple, stupid which is usually said in its acronym form KISS; oddly enough, originally a design application of the U.S. Navy in 1960.
Its KISS principle is widespread and a basic rule that good leaders follow daily. The concept was popular in the military during the 1970s and is still today, in particular under combat conditions. Military planners figured out that when things are complicated or require a network of things to work harmoniously; they will often failed when put under stress.
It has been often said that a simple plan today, poorly executed, is better than a complex plan tomorrow, well executed. Humans, being who we are, are prone to mistakes, biases, and selectivity in what we do. When things are kept simple, those are less likely to enter as a variable in our behavior.
The KISS principle has many variations, like “keep it short and simple,” but the idea remains the same; humans are error prone and when things are kept simple the end result is typically a better product. I’m reminded of the 1999 NASA Mars Climate Orbiter than burned up in the Martian atmosphere because engineers had failed to convert units from English to metric.
Of course, funding, designing, building, launching, and the monitoring a spacecraft is highly complex. A NASA review board quickly discovered the problem; caused by different agencies using differing systems of measurement … and nobody checked. To make a bad situation worse for NASA, the Mars Polar Lander, launched 23 days later, also disappeared.
The lesson is very clear; don’t put complexity into things that can be made simpler; less mistakes will be made that way.
- Good Habits #1: Never Assume Anything: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-1-never-assume-anything/
- Good Habits #2: Walk Around and Talk with People: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-2-walk-around-talk-people/
- Good Habits #3: Read Mission-Related Material: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-3-read-mission-related-material/
- Good Habits #4: Take the Initiative: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-4-take-the-initiative/
- Good Habits #5: Effective Use of Time: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-5-effective-use-of-time/
- Good Habits #6: Show the Human Side: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-6-show-the-human-side/
- Good Habits #7: Speak Properly: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-7-speak-properly/
- Good Habits #8: Transparency: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-8-transparency/
- Good Habits #9: Continuous Learning: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-9-continuous-learning/
- Good Habits #10: Make No Excuses: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-10-make-no-excuses/
- Good Habits #11: Thinking Out Loud: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-11-thinking-out-loud/
- Good Habits #12: Ability to Make Hard Decisions: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-12-ability-to-make-hard-decisions/
- Good Habits #13: Be Conscientious and Timely: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-13-be-conscientious-and-timely/
- Good Habits #14: Being Honest and Straight Forward: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-14-being-honest-and-straight-forward/
- Good Habits #15: Giving Credit Where It’s Due: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-15-giving-credit-where-its-due/
- Good Habits #16: Walk the Walk: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-16-walk-the-walk/
- Good Habits #17: Politely Accept Feedback: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-17-politely-accept-feedback/
- Good Habits #18: Have a Sense of Humor: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-18-have-a-sense-of-humor/
- Good Habits #19: Adhere to the Golden Rule: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-19-adhere-to-the-golden-rule/
- Good Habits #20: Forget Perfection: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-20-forget-perfection/
- Good Habits #21: Be Open to New Ideas: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-21-be-open-to-new-ideas/
- Good Habits #22: Be a Sounding Board: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-22-sounding-board/
- Good Habits #23: Treat People Fairly: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-23-treat-people-fairly/
- Good Habits #24: Ask ‘Who Needs to Know’: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-24-ask-needs-know/
- Good Habits #25: Be Generous: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-25-generous/
- Good Habits #26: Be a Paragon of Standards: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-26-paragon-standards/
- Good Habits #27: Have Patience: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-27-patience/
- Good Habits #28: Look Like a Leader: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-28-look-like-leader/
- Good Habits #29: Smile: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-29-smile/
- Good Habits #30: Give a Simple Thank-You: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-30-give-simple-thank/
- Good Habits #31: Show Your Passion: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-31-show-passion/
- Good Habits #32: Ask Good Questions: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-32-ask-good-questions/
- Good Habits #33: Be a Teacher: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-33-teacher/
- Good Habits #34: Be Approachable: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-34-approachable/
- Good Habits #35: Prioritize the Important: www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-35-prioritize-important/
- Good Habits #36: Be Accountable: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-36-accountable/