2019/10/06

10 Rules of Simplicity by Edward deBono

DeBono's work will have a renaissance soon.
One of his outstanding streams of thought is "Simplicity" (first book written in 1998).

20 years has passed but the rules still and even more so apply today

Rule 1. You need to put a very high value on simplicity.

Rule 2. You must be determined to seek simplicity.


Rule 3. You need to understand the matter very well.


Rule 4. You need to design alternatives and possibilities.


Rule 5. You need to challenge and discard existing elements.


Rule 6. You need to be prepared to start over again.


Rule 7. You need to use concepts.


Rule 8. You may need to break things down into smaller units.


Rule 9. You need to be prepared to trade off other values for simplicity.


Rule 10. You need to know for whose sake the simplicity is being designed.

My personal values as a business leader: honesty, clarity, simplicity


I personally believe that it is of utmost importance to start your career with a set of values and revisit them once in a while by asking ?


1. were these the right values for me ?

2. were these the right values for my peers, direct reports and managers?
3. if not what values should be replaced with what values?


These are my personal values


1. Honesty

2. Clarity
3. Simplicity


1. Honesty

- Walk the talk as a leader
- do not have hidden agendas
antonyms: lying and hiding

2. Clarity

- provide a clear vision
- communicate where we stand
- be open with feedback
- always communicate concisely
antonyms:  ambiguity and obfuscation

3. Simplicity

- make things simple for customers, employees, stakeholders
- delegate and decentralize because big things move slowly and complacently
antonyms: complexity, complication, excuses

What are Management Heuristics ?

This is my very own definition of management heuristics

A management heuristic is a method by which managers try to come up with a solution based on cognitive short-cuts, rules and frameworks they have made up through past personal experience and inductive reasoning.


Examples are



  • "it is never good to be first mover in the market"
  • "trust your guts"
  • "I always talk to a couple of potential customers before I invest."
  • "you need to have strategic clarity as opposed to strategic ambiguity"
  • "You either become become Number 1 or 2 in the market" 
  • "New businesses should be profitable in year 3" 



Interesting questions to explore are.

1. what are the leading management heuristics ?
2. how are they formed ? what are antecedents?
3. are they helpful when it comes to managerial decision making in executive boards?
4. how important are they ?
5. how are they changing over time ? how and by what processes are they revisited?
6. how do they delineate against biases ?

Note: Oct 7th.
On particular bias that needs be removed is the Halo-Effect (opposite is the Horn Effect). It basically amplifies the positive attitude one has towards a brand/product regarding a distinct related brand/product. An example for a halo-effect would be: 
Apple cars must be of great quality ! 

Note: Oct 8th 
Path dependence, is a related concept . It explains how the set of decisions one faces for any given circumstance is limited by the decisions one has made in the past or by the events that one has experienced, even though past circumstances may no longer be relevant.