Monday, July 29, 2019

The Powerful Secret Of Elegance

What sets successful leaders apart from the rest?

There are many different surveys and lists on the keys to successful leadership. Some of the lists make intuitive sense. And some feel like someone desperately had to fill just one more column in a glossy magazine. Through our research, we have identified the following keys to success.

Which of these success keys are you currently using?

1. Strong Foundation

Highly successful leaders are absolutely clear about their identity – who they are, what they are here for and where they are going. They have a deep, strong personal foundation and a tremendous trust in life, themselves and their relationships. Out of this trust, they have developed a strong sense of self-worth and self-respect.

2. Healthy Lifestyle

They live a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle. They look after themselves and their families well. Highly successful leaders tend to be mentally, physically and emotionally fit and seldom ill. They handle stress and problems well. When problems arise, they usually make sure that they solve them once and for all.

3. Authentic Presence

These leaders are real characters! They have a strong personality and are absolutely authentic. They love what they are doing. They live in the present moment and manifest the achievement of their objectives in the ‘here and now’.

4. Designed Destiny

Highly successful leaders take on full responsibility for their life. They are die-hard optimists with an ‘everything is possible’ attitude. They are constantly moving forward to the next project. They always get up again if they should stumble. They have crystal-clear goals, as well as a huge passion for life.

5. Clean Conscience

Really successful leaders have a clean conscience. They have no skeletons rotting away in their closets. They have got rid of all guilt, forgiven those who may have wronged them, made peace with their past, and celebrate the present. They have clear-channel relationships and have set up their life to be a guilt-free zone.

6. Spiritual Awareness

Highly successful leaders are spiritually aware. They have made peace with life and have learned to go with the flow. They have developed a healthy, trusting relationship with themselves, the world around them and their Creator. Ultimately, many really successful businesspeople say that their deep spirituality is the true source of their success.

7. Maverick Leadership

They are real mavericks and charismatic leaders. At a young age, they were frequently the leaders of the pack. They are frequently at the centre of the action, building strong, cohesive business communities. They truly care for others. The super successful earn the right to lead by exuding a strong personal presence and a natural sense of authority, positively impacting their environment.

8. Focused Energy

Successful leaders focus their energy well and never waste their power. Their hearts, minds and environment are uncluttered. They have learned to manage their state and put themselves into peak form in an instant, if required. They have learned to leverage small efforts and investments into great results. They are usually financially independent and have developed strong business systems that allow them to earn their living elegantly. At the same time, they frequently surprise their environment by ‘going the second mile’, giving more than was expected.

9. Intuitive Insight

Highly successful business people rely on their intuition when making a decision. They know their own needs, values, drivers, resources and thinking patterns well. They are clear about the contextual influences they are active in and are thus quick to decide. Their ability to act based on their intuitive insight, their ‘sixth sense’ or ‘gut feelings’ sets successful leaders apart from the rest.

10. Professional Attitude

The really successful leaders tend to own (a substantial share in) their own businesses. They have moved from compensating jobs to being entrepreneurs. They have switched from consumerism to ownership. They have shifted their approach from selling hours to leveraging their business system. As true professionals, they are highly dedicated, committed and often sticklers for quality, constantly improving themselves and their business.

11. Focused Action

They have a clear focus on what it is they want to achieve. They keep a ‘big picture’ approach to business and don’t lose themselves in the details. Successful leaders consistently take action on their plans and objectives, creating momentum to propel themselves forward towards success. They focus on earning their income elegantly and have fun doing so.

12. Social Activity

Really successful leaders are socially active and well integrated. They have acquaintances in all social spheres and actively nurture healthy relationships. They share their wealth, offer support and get involved in charitable activities. At the same time, it is often true that the really successful leaders do not ‘need’ others, in many ways. They are self-sufficient, even independent of the opinions of others.

Find out more about how you can benefit from the secrets of true elegance:

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Secret Of Elegant Business

In the fields of business strategy, information technology, mathematics, science and engineering, elegant solutions provide a surprisingly simple method, which is normally not obvious at first sight, to produce a highly effective result, often solving multiple problems at once - even problems, which may not be inter-related!

Truly elegant business solutions solve multiple, often unrelated problems

The Swiss army knife may provide us with a practical, tangible illustration of such elegance. The simple, straightforward surface design of this tool is actually misleading, for although it is called a knife, it actually provides multi-purpose functionality.

The basic version normally includes:

a couple of knives

a pair of scissors

a cork-screw

a can-opener

a screwdriver

And so on…

Nowadays, many of these Swiss army knives include cool gadgets like an altimeter, a USB-stick, etc.

But as this example clearly illustrates, trying to create too much "added value" may have a detrimental effect. Some designers have included so many different gadgets and functionalities in to their version of the Swiss army knife, that the result is a heavy, cumbersome, impractical tool, lacking the essential elegance of the original design.

Too much of a good thing is the enemy of elegance!
In the process of innovation, true elegance must strike a fine balance between complexity and simplicity to create optimal value. 

To quote the January 2007 edition of Architecture & Design

«Elegance allows for complexity to coincide with a relative reduction of complication by integrating multiple elements into a coherent, comprehensive, continuous and complete system, which can easily be understood. »

As in the example of the Swiss army knife, elegance requires a relative reduction of complexity. 

The key to creating optimal value when creating new tools, methods, models, concepts and solutions, is to strike an ideal balance between simplicity of design and the usefulness of multi-functional complexity. 

If you need to read a user’s manual before you can utilize a tool, product, solution or process, it is probably not truly elegant.

According to my research and experience, true elegance requires no formal explanation.

It speaks for itself.

And this is true for any truly successful business strategy, too!

Find out more about how you can benefit from the secrets of true elegance:

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Relevance Of Elegance In Business

Over the last ten years elegance has emerged as a trend which is quickly picking up speed in the fields of architecture, design, innovation and strategic business leadership, as it provides a powerful key for managing complexity. 

But quite frankly, when I discuss the concept and benefits of elegance with business entrepreneurs and executives, I often get a blank stare as a response.

It seems that for most people, elegance is a relatively meaningless word, which is best left to the creators of fashion and haute couture, as well as their marketing gurus and the editors of glossy magazines.

According to my experience, most business leaders would view elegance as a largely irrelevant concept.

Until lately, that is.

For in the last ten years we have seen more and more disruptive concepts, technologies and products launched into the world markets, which have changed the way in which we live, work, and create value.

The IPhone, with it’s deceptively simple, elegant design and it’s complex, rich sub-structure completely revolutionized the world of mobile phones and hand-held devices.

The Google search engine, with it’s clean, uncluttered design and meaningful search results pretty much blew away most of the potential competitors.

The list of great examples for new, successful, disruptive solutions, products and technologies which make use of the key concepts of elegance is growing quickly.

„So what is  the secret sauce?“ some executives have asked me.

There are several aspects to the power of elegant design, but to paraphrase Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects, one of the key benefits of true elegance is that it allows for complexity to coincide with a relative reduction of complication by means of integrating multiple elements into a coherent system.

Swiss watchmakers can teach us a lesson about elegance in this respect. A really good watch should have a surface structure which is easy to understand, that allows for intuitive navigation. But below the surface, the inner works of a truly great watch will include a grand complication, representing the most complex achievements of haute horlogerie. You and I don’t need to understand the inner works of a watch to be able to use it. If it is elegantly designed, it’s use will require virtually no explanation.

Thus, elegance provides a means of articulating complexity in a way that enables easy comprehension and intuitive navigation.

In an increasingly chaotic, complex economic context, business leaders and entrepreneurs need to manage complexity by mastering such elegant techniques in order to make better decisions and create increased business value.

Elegant business decisions, solutions and innovations combine a simple surface-structure with a rich, complex sub-structure. 

The resulting business-leadership techniques may seem simple and obvious at first sight – but don’t be deceived! 

This type of simplicity is rich, complex and deeply satisfying. 

And as in the cases of Apple, Google and many other elegant innovators, this approach can help you to create disruptive changes to your advantage in the markets you operate in.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Power Of Elegance

Coco Chanel stated that simplicity is the key to any kind of true elegance.

But according to my experience, simplicity is often not very elegant at all.

If we over-simplify our world, it becomes mono-dimensional, monochrome, meaningless and boring.

If we simplify our world-view to an extent where the good cowboys wear white hats, and the bad cowboys black hats, we miss the multi-color richness of experience the real world has to offer.

Instead of trying to manage the complexities we face through black-and-white reductionism, we need to learn to manage our complex reality by gaining an intimate, profound understanding of it. 

According to my experience, truly elegant solutions actually require the presence and richness of a complex context.

If we step back for a moment and take a closer look at the seemingly random, chaotic world we live in, we will find that it consists of layer upon layer of beautifully intricate, symmetrical, fractal patterns.

Fractals are both highly complex and simply elegant.

Upon taking an even closer look below the surface of chaos and complexity, you will find amazingly rhythmic, self-organizing patterns and a deeply satisfying sense of balance, order and purpose that far exceeds the effectiveness and efficiency of the organizational strategies, structures and models most management consultants could ever dream up.  

It is true that elegance doesn’t come easy, as it requires you to delve deeper and engage more fully with your reality, instead of jumping to conclusions. But once you have achieved a state of total immersion in your chosen topic, you may find that elegant solutions suddenly emerge in the most unexpected moments, like a flash of lightning, when inspiration strikes.

The resulting solutions may seem simple at first sight – but don’t be deceived!

This type of simplicity is rich, complex and deeply satisfying.

It provides a profound sense of significance.

It addresses the real root causes of a situation, and it usually has a broad-ranging effect.

In the fields of information technology, mathematics and engineering, elegant solutions provide a surprisingly simple method, which is normally not obvious at first sight, to produce a highly effective result, often solving multiple problems at once - even problems which may not be inter-related! 

Although these solutions may seem simple, their quality has nothing to do with reductionism, austerity, and blinkered ways of thinking.

True elegance combines simplicity with complexity to create beauty!

This type of elegance articulates, mediates and enables complexity, providing precise orientation within a seemingly chaotic context, enabling you to navigate your way toward optimal solutions quickly and effectively. In the business world, it provides a powerful competitive advantage in the process of disruptive innovation and organizational design, by striking a fine balance between complexity and simplicity to create optimal value. 

To quote the January 2007 edition of Architecture& Design:

«Elegance allows for complexity to coincide with a relative reduction of complication by integrating multiple elements into a coherent, comprehensive, continuous and complete system, which can easily be understood.»

To me personally, the real beauty of this approach is that true elegance requires no explanation. It speaks for itself.

Find out more about how you can benefit from the secrets of true elegance: