The Art of Simplicity as Taught by a Random Pedestrian

This morning I watched an older woman with a walker make her way down the sidewalk. Her movements were very deliberate and it was clear that her limbs would no longer cooperate to move her with any urgency or speed. In fact she shuffled more than she walked – it was the best she could muster.

What I found fascinating though was the effortless manner in which she used the walker. With each step forward on her right foot she used it to help give her just a little bit of oomph. But it was the way that she swung the walker back into place for her next step that was notable. There appeared to be no deliberate movement at all to return the walker to the front of her stride – she instead allowed the inertia of her original movement to swing it back into place like a pendulum. She had figured out a way to achieve her intended result by exerting as little physical energy as possible.

Too often we fail to consider simplicity in the HR solutions we build. Instead we identify the problem and consider solutions but we do so without regard to the energy, effort, inconvenience or cost incurred to achieve the proposed fix. Instead there appears to be an unspoken mantra in Human Resources – make it big so people notice us. Our instinct is to flex our muscles just because we have the opportunity to do so.

Sometimes the most effective solutions are also the most simple. The walking woman correctly identified that any muscular effort to return the walker to its proper position was wasted. But I have to believe that she arrived at her destination as quickly and efficiently as she possibly could have. We in HR should heed the wisdom of her simple stroll.

Views: 89

Comment by Chris Hood on April 20, 2010 at 1:44pm
nicely done.
Comment by Brian Meeks on April 20, 2010 at 1:46pm
That was a good post, thanks for the reminder that sometimes simple is best.
Comment by Tracey Cress on April 20, 2010 at 4:31pm
love the post . . . I agree completely.
Comment by Chris Fleek on April 21, 2010 at 1:29pm
Thanks for the comments Chris, Brian and Tracey! I appreciate it.


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