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Ir al Grano

Minimalist architect  Mies van de Rohe was masterful at arranging necessary components of a building to create the impression of simplicity by combining visual and functional purpose.  He coined the phrase; “Less is more.”

Thirty five years ago in India, a skinny old man bobbing his head from shoulder to shoulder, espoused the line; “Simplicity is bliss.” I immediately got his meaning. Things in life are  complicated enough without our interference.

One way we trip over ourselves is by running on with our stories about what has taken place. We avoid what has really happened by using complex tales spun to justify how we feel or react, quite often failing to face the simple facts.

One of the many things I like about coaching is designing the initial agreements with my clients. We talk about respecting one another’s time. Giving advance notice for canceling or re-scheduling. We go over commitment to the process, showing up big, taking feedback with a thank you, and various other structures to create a hospitable and honest space to work. But the one that always gives me pleasure is when I give my clients permission to interrupt me if I’ve gone astray or have lost the thread of our work. To kindly, yet firmly stop me in my tracks by telling me to get back on point and bottom line it. Of course, what’s good for the goose, is good for the gander and I receive the same permission; I use it often.

Working with a Latin American organization I realized that there was no phrase for “bottom line it.” Cultural differences can be tricky, yet there are passages through every obstacle. “Ir al grano” is idiomatic for “get to the point!” So, no matter how you put it, remember the acronym [kiss]; keep it simple stupid. Less is more!

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