At Apple, Steve Jobs was famous for asking his deputies a simple question: “How many times did you say ‘no’ today?”
By asking it, Jobs was sending a clear message to focus and take control.
Jobs didn’t want leaders coming to him for sign-offs on every decision. He didn’t want them to be scared to take action. Rather, he was giving his people authority, and he expected them to use it.
If these leaders were saying “no” every day, it meant that they were making decisions on their own.
In complicated organizations, people are constantly claiming they can’t get things done because another department hasn’t signed off, or they can’t move forward because some other team hasn’t provided enough data.
Leaders operating with a simplicity mindset short-circuit those complaints. They make decisions quickly and cleanly, and they inspire those they work with to do the same. They say “no” to unnecessary things to make space for work that matters.These leaders have also gained a valuable insight: don’t try to simplify everything at once.
Read more: Get Simpler, Stay Simpler – Futurethink