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2006: Issue 6

Keep it Simple, Simon

Yes, this is my version of the very familiar KISS maxim, and while my name isn’t Simon, and I don’t think yours is either, I prefer it to the usual “stupid” —a word I have chosen to erase from my vocabulary because of its strong negativity and encourage you to do the same.  Yet, I digress from the overall message in KISS…..

Keep it simple.   Another one of those things that is “simple” to say, and not so “simple” to do, and frankly, in many cases, just not possible—especially in healthcare.  Yet I am learning, through application and experience, that Pareto’s Principle of 80:20 applies here, too, for the reality is that so much of what can be kept simple, we make complicated because that is what we know.  And by making it complicated, we accomplish less, create unnecessary frustration, consume more time and ultimately end up exhausted, stressed out and overwhelmed.  Or, we end up simply stuck because we are thinking about step twenty, rather than steps one through three. 

I see it everyday in the stories my client’s relate to me or honestly, in the situations I create for myself.  I set as one of my goals this year to learn yoga.  My plan, find a yoga class that works for my unpredictable schedule, sign up, pay the fee, and go.  Simple yes.  As simple as it could be, no.   While I was bemoaning my failure at reaching yet another goal, I decided to apply KISS.  Result, I have incorporated some yoga movements into my morning and evening routines, and am now more motivated to find a class to advance my skills.  I found a simpler way, and took step one.

Now this is a fairly simplistic example, purposefully so for it is the little things that comprise life.  By keeping them simple, we conserve our energy for the situations and things that truly are more difficult.  And most importantly, life just gets better when we have accomplishments to celebrate. 

Observation:  Truth: life is complicated, but it doesn’t have to be so darn difficult.  We make it that way by missing opportunities to apply the KISS principle, and in return, diminish the power and beauty of simplicity.     

Assessment:   Keeping it simple has resulted in some of the greatest inventions and most masterful solutions.  And in our every day, ordinary lives, applying the KISS principle allows us to accomplish more while enjoying every step along the way.


  1. Write KISS down on a sticky note(s), placing in strategic places, to serve as a gentle reminder to keep it simple. 
  2. When a decision or action feels overwhelming, stop, breath in deeply, and ask yourself, what simple step can I take now that will move me forward or closer to a solution. 
  3. When leading your team, coaching your staff or talking with your child, help them see the value in simplicity, and teach them how to apply the KISS principle.   

David Scheiderer, MD, MBA
Executive Coach

Janet Crawford, MHA, MBA
Executive Coach

Tiberius Rx ... written for physicians and those who love them, work with them, or befriend them, and want to explore, experience and excel in all aspects of their life.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
– Einstein

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate"
That is, “Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily"
– Franciscan monk William of Occam


On March 30 and 31, Janet will be leading a 2 day retreat for nursing directors, Coming Together to Build the Future