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Practice Keeping It Simple By Mark L. Vincent

YES, You Can Keep It Simple

Simple living can be a significant challenge for a leader. Whether you are a Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director or even interim CEO, you are responsible for the whole of the organization.

Nobody else shares the responsibility for the complexity of the whole at the level you do, Even if you are fortunate enough to have a team member who demonstrates potential to perceive the complexity of the whole, they are not responsible for it. Their job does not depend on it.


Organizational performance does not ultimately point to them with the intensity that it points to you.

You cannot afford to be distracted.

Don’t let circumstances dim your perception or your access to resources.

Avoid giving yourself to minutiae.

Keep your life simple enough, unobstructed enough, clear enough to keep your focus.


Paring down to this level of focus may well be the most complicated task you will face. It means saying no to many good opportunities in order to stay focused on the essentials, even those offered by colleagues, neighbors, friends and family.

What this means is that interests you might pursue, and hobbies you might indulge are not pursued or indulged, in order to go more deeply and more expertly into the focused life demanded of you. Such is the call of executive leadership.

Coupled with this is the need for margin in your life. Adequate time for rest, reflection and the pursuit of a hobby or interests that enrich your life and add to the focus are a must. Are you getting a feel for how unrelenting and disciplined one’s focus needs to be?


Here is the formula I’ve drawn on across the years to keep it simple:

  1. Limit myself to one area of volunteering so that I can be an effective and reliable volunteer.
  2. Maintain a rhythm of work, learning, play, rest and worship of God, strengthening all facets of my person.
  3. Hand off opportunity to colleagues, sometimes even before they (or I) think they are ready.

With that simple living formula long at work I have found increased capacity, and the clarity to face life rather than be surprised and troubled by it.


Writing this column, I am aware that this is as much a pledge of what I must continue to do far more than it is any offering of perspective to others.

Continuing on, then…


Mark L. Vincent is the Founder of Design Group International and the Society for Process Consulting. He hosts the Third Turn Podcast and facilitates Maestro-level leaders.

Today You Can Make It Happen.

We are honored to have Mark L. Vincent as one of our featured presenters and facilitator for The Outcomes Conference CEO Forum.



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