KISS: Keep It Super Simple!

Queen of Complexity or Simplicity Superstar?

Like many of us, I find it so much easier to complicate things than simplify them! In the past*, despite my good intentions, I often ended up making things w-a-a-a-y more complex and convoluted than they needed to be! (* I say ‘in the past’ but if I’m perfectly honest, I still do if I don’t keep myself in check!)

Maybe you do too?

If so, you might well be familiar with the following scenario:

You start off with an idea – and it’s a pretty fine idea too, even if you say so yourself – it’s simple, sharp and straightforward. Brilliant! 

And then what happens?

Well, what happens is you get caught up in your own enthusiasm and brilliance and before you know it you’ve decided to add an ever increasing number of whistles and bells BUT – and here’s the nub of the problem – by doing so you complicate your original idea (that simple, sharp and straightforward idea, remember?) out of existence! The original idea for a half day workshop somehow grew into a weekend residential course but neither the half day workshop nor the residential course ever came to fruition! The new 5 page website gradually morphed into an all-singing, all-dancing ecommerce site but funnily enough, neither of them made it through to completion! 

Complexity can smother the life out of a good idea!


If you’ve been tempted to add yet another element to your latest ‘great idea’ you’ll know the problem… the more complicated you make things, the less likely you are to actually implement the thing you’re trying to achieve.

I saw a poster the other day which made me smile because it summed it up so succinctly. The words on the poster were:

‘It’s simple until you make it complicated’ which, I guess is another variation on the KISS acronym that we’re all familiar with – ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’.

‘Keep It Super Simple’ is my adaptation of that (I can do without the ‘stupid’!) and is fast becoming a favourite personal mantra. Here’s why: 

KISSSimplicity enables you to start and finish.

Simplicity has a particular energy, focus, clarity and power. Keeping it super simple allows you to make faster choices, which in turn allows you to act faster! Complexity interferes with turning knowledge into action, so resist the temptation to add a few more whistles and bells – identify what’s most important and leave the rest for another time.

Simplicity allows you to try things out quickly.

Start with the simplest form of the idea, make that work first and then build from there – the outcome will always be better. Keeping it super simple gives you a chance to ‘get it out there’, learn from your experiences and retain the flexibility to make changes.

Simplicity allows you to do more with less.

How much more productive would you be if you were to focus only on the tasks that would make the biggest difference? Keeping it super simple demands that you let go of all the extraneous stuff that so often just gets in the way, freeing you up to focus on the things that matter – and it’s the things that matter which ultimately allow you to make an impact.

Simplicity is all about clarity.

…. and what do your clients and customers want? Clarity. More than anything, they want you to make their experience clear, simple and easy – and of course, that’s what we as business owners want too.  So instead of offering a list of products and services as long as your arm, work out what the problem you are trying to solve is and focus on that.

I am in total, total agreement with Leonardo Da Vinci when he says ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’ Complexity does NOT make things better – far from it – more often than not it leaves us feeling confused, befuddled, and frustrated!

There is an enormous power in simplicity, so how about running a ‘simplicity check’ on your products and services right now to see where you can keep complexity at bay. 

Which parts of your business need simplifying right now?

    • What’s the one main thing you do which makes the biggest difference to your clients and your business?
    • What’s the simplest way of achieving this?
    • What can you now eliminate?
    • Where are you making things overly complicated? (These are the very places you can start to introduce more simplicity.)


Try taking the KISS approach and Keep it Super Simple!

Over to you…!

Do you have any questions about becoming a Simplicity Superstar? How has the KISS approach worked for you? Share in the comments below so we can benefit and learn from each other!


KISS: Keep It Super Simple! — 4 Comments

  1. Every word a gem and I love the quote. I often talk about there being an elegance in simplicity, never knew I was in such great company as Leonardo!!

    Karen there is so much great insight in here and like you, over complicating is something I am apt to do too. To be honest I think it happens as a result of us making sure we give value but in fact what we do is overwhelm, not a good thing to do.

    • Thanks so much for your comments, Heather. I think there is definitely an elegance in simplicity.. and who are we to argue with the magnificent Leonardo about such matters!

      I think you could well be right about adding ‘extras’ as a way of ensuring we give good value but the irony is, when we overcomplicate things we often end up doing exactly the opposite. Less is so often more and ‘more’ doesn’t mean ‘better’. Albert Einstein said ‘Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler’…..and he’s another one who knew a thing or two!

  2. You must be reading my mind Karen, I’d like to say that I used to make things more complicated but the truth is I still often do. My excuse (& I think I’s like one please) is that I’m enthusiastic about what I can do for my clients so I want to give them as much help as I can. The danger with this is that they become overwhelmed &, as you say clarity and simplicity are far more effective.
    You will be pleased to hear that I’ve written your questions on a Post –it and will use it as a prompt as I develop new ways clients can work with me.
    I also use the mantra ‘Break it down again’ (a line from the song ‘Dance with me Tonight’ by Olly Murs) which is also a great prompt to simplify.

    • I know Lesley, I do too – I can go into ‘complicated mode’ in the blink of an eye and have to constantly remind myself to ‘Keep It Super Simple’! We may be motivated by enthusiasm and wanting to help more, give more, add more value but ‘more’ is NOT the same as better. I like your ‘break it down again’ mantra too, courtesy of good old Olly Murs!

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