Clarity propels an organization. Not occasional clarity but pervasive, twenty-four-hour, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners clarity. Most people never perceive that this is lacking in their organization, but 90 percent of the time it is. Just open a few random emails on your company account, activate your brutal-vision, and read. The muddying messages are rampant. If people were brutally honest in their emails, the time we spend sorting through our in-boxes would surely decrease by half.
Steve Jobs demanded straightforward communication from others as much as he dished it out himself. He had no patience for those who beat around the bush. He’d cut you off if you rambled. He ran his business as if there were precious little time to waste, which well reflected the reality for Apple—as surely it does for any company serious about competing. This is probably the one element of Simplicity that’s easiest to institute. Just be honest and never hold back. Demand the same from those you work with. You’ll make some people squirm, but everyone will know where they stand. One hundred percent of your group’s time will be focused on forward progress—no need to decode what people are really saying.