Simple Stupid Behavior

“Simple, clear purpose and principles give rise to complex intelligent behavior. Complex rules and regulations give rise to simple stupid behavior.” – Dee Hock

I saw this quote pop up on the screen at the Global Leadership Summit during Todd Henry’s talk about “Herding Tigers.”

It took a minute for me to realize that herding tigers was a play on the term herding cats… no one said I was ever a fast thinker… Anyways, it ended up being one of my favorite talks of the summit because of the reminders and basic practicality of what he brought forth in regards to getting the most of out the people we lead.

I work in an industry that is prone to want to “manage by checklists” which can have an opposite effect of what is intended… but is a response to the amount of regulations that the mortgage industry is under that it does make it somewhat difficult to stay on top of all of them. Not to mention the cost associated with getting it wrong only lends to the desire to make sure we make zero mistakes.

I think that is why this talk impacted me so much. When you live in a world where you feel like you have to be perfect or else, it can very quickly put you in a “just tell me what to do” mindset. You lose the ability or the desire to problem solve creatively and to think outside of the checklist that is in front of you.

As leaders, we have to take the time to build TRUST with our teams, and if you work in a highly regulated industry like I do, I think that becomes much more important in the “little” things. When you know they have to be “perfect” in the big things, give them the freedom in the little things. That is where you earn the trust and build the trust and possibly lose the trust if you don’t do it well.

Todd said it like this, “We tend to think of trust as a bank account… Trust is like a water balloon. You can fill it and fill it and fill it… but if it is punctured even in the slightest way, you are going to lose it everywhere.”

Here is a link to Todd’s book: Herding Tigers: Be the Leader That Creative People Need

Be blessed!


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