Stealing Brutal Simplification

        Stealing Brutal Simplification

I love the sound of this, it’s something a friend of mine, Jon Skinner (Co-Founder of The Core Agency -, told me to aim for when developing The Cave Network - a future social enterprise that will help men improve their world by giving back with purpose. ‘Brutal Simplicity of Thought’ was a mantra first coined by advertising legend, Maurice Saatchi. Check out his book by the same name here:

Like many others before, I’M GOING TO STEAL IT…

Brutal simplification is where I’m heading with my coaching business, at least the marketing of it. Brutal simplification is what many of my clients need to aim for. And I think most of us can use a bit of brutal simplification in our personal lives as well. If you don't believe me, then believe Steve Jobs:


Today we’re all so busy and have so little time - or at least we think have no time - some brutal simplification in life can help. At a simple 😉 level, if you have simple goals, and less of them you will likely have a better chance of achieving them:
1.       Simplify what you are aiming for.
2.       Figure out what activities help you achieve those goals (and which don’t).
3.       Focus your energies on those identified POSITIVE AND ALIGNED ACTIVITIES, which will help you achieve your goal(s).

And having just spent three days emptying the garage and balcony of ‘must have’ items, that have been GATHERING DUST FOR FOUR YEARS, I think brutal simplification with our belongings can also help. Most of us have stuff which we hoard that we do not need. And there are many experts out there who believe that the more possessions you have, the less happy and more stressed out you will be.

Graham Hill is one person who has taken this to the next level and his five-minute TED Talk is interesting:
To borrow from Graham; in 2018 I’m going to try to hold onto less to MAKE ROOM FOR THE GOOD STUFF.


Thinking back over the years, there have been a few concepts that have similar objectives to brutal simplification:

  • Close to 20 years ago, I learned about points of difference and competitive advantage, I seek to help people define them for themselves and their businesses. 
  • Then in the 2000s it was all about businesses focusing on their core competencies. 
  • Jump forward to today and Emma Bannister (Presentation Studio - and Nancy Duarte (Duarte) talk about having a Single Big Idea that anchors your presentation.
  • One of my coaches Yu Dan Shi ( helps people find their ‘Inner Genius’, which in my opinion, has brutal simplification at it’s core.

Such a simple but critical concept. Brutal Simplification plays a part in everything I do from individual performance coaching using ‘GOAL’ methodology through to business strategy developing strategic process models using the ‘The BOS’ model.  Thanks again for the reminder Jon!

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other person, organisation, employer or company.  The author is a performance coach for individuals and businesses with a belief that we all have untapped potential which once found can improve performance.  I draw on 25 years corporate experience, a Bachelor of Arts in Social & Cultural Anthropology and a Masters of Business Administration.


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