Today on Write to Done, Leo Babauta posted a guest writer’s thoughts about the relative value of focusing a blog post on a single subject vs. the bulleted list of “the x best…” or “the y truths…” There are places where these lists make sense, but I have always been concerned about a formulaic approach to leadership thinking and action. I know that there are several bestselling authors who would disagree. But a close read of Pat Lencioni and even John Maxwell belies the simplicity promised in the titles of their books.
I guess this point of view may be why I have never coupled leadership development with motivational speaking. When I get calls asking about a motivational presentation, I am generally a little reticent. I am more likely to provide a sleepless night than a short term pump up. I am more likely to ask hard questions than try to present formulaic truths and absolute laws for living and leading. In fact, most of the motivational speakers I have ever heard espouse a way of living based on willpower. And most of the people I have ever met who can truly mold their lives as they wish based on willpower are motivational speakers. Our emotional humanity is too powerful to be made subservient to a purely mental decision.
There are times when lists are terrific and certainly can simplify challenging material. But I think that Einstein’s observation applies here. “Things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”