Simplicity Through Subtraction

My job in these fast changing times is to come up with solutions to the many and varied problems our clients face. Most weeks, someone desperate for help writes in with a long and detailed description of the crisis currently being faced. In my insecurity my first response is usually to panic; ‘how on earth can I help with such complex issues?’ I put it aside to read again a day or so later when I’ve calmed down, and start to tease out the essential points, until I can see a safe pathway emerging. When you’re faced with a problem: set out the main points clearly and succinctly; avoid woolly language; put detailed analysis and statistics into an appendix; set out the options clearly. Train yourself to do this and you’ll make better decisions. If you’re still stuck write to me. (I’m rather better at solving other people’s problems than my own; I imagine that may be true for many of us.) The cry for help I had today was from a charity with donations flooding in during the pandemic to the point where they won’t be able to spend it in a reasonable time frame. A nice problem to have, which I was able to engage with straightaway. Even this one needed a little bit of thought, though I do sometimes wish that they were all as easy.

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