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Andrew Meyer


AG Lafley's approach reminds me of something Richard Feynmen once said (I think).

If someone makes something sound complicated, either they don't understand it or they don't want you to understand it.

From mortgage contracts to CDS contracts to the bailout, all of it was hastily written so that only the writers understand it.

Things that make you go hummmmm.


Matt Barney

Great post. This reminds me of one of the great influencers of all time, Gandhi. His ability to mobilize hundreds of millions of illiterate Indians to throw off the chains of a superpower is legendary. Sesame Street was before his time, but credible, selfless leading by example and simple messages seem timeless.

Chris Yeh

I don't think it's any coincidence that A. G. is an ex-Marine.


Couldn't agree more. If your customers or employees don't understand the logic behind the vision, it could mean one of several things: (1) the logic isn't there; (2) you, as a leader, hasn't got it; (3) they, as employees or customers, haven't got it. Compare the vision of Jonathan Schwartz, CEO Sun Microsystems, with, for example, Steve Jobs. Jobs doesn't talk that much, he delivers, while Jonathan Schwartz could do a lot better. It's just too complicated, listening to Jonathan.

Wally Bock

Great post, Bob. It triggered the realization that all the great leaders I've come in contact with, in the Marines, in police work and in business, go for simple concepts repeated often. It's surprising how rarely this is mentioned in discussions of leadership.

I've suggested to people in my programs that if they have an idea for their organization or team they should test it on an intelligent 15 year old. If you can do that, the idea has a shot.

Then look for stories and examples that illustrate your idea. Use them when you have the opportunity. But take every opportunity to share your message.

You also inspired me to check the bookshelf. Sure enough, one book that stresses this kind of communication is John Kotter's seminal work, The General Managers.


That reminds me of a story I read about Ulysses Grant (anecdotal):

He kept a captain on staff who was rather slow. He vetted all orders though him, the reason being if this captain could understand them, the soldiers in the field would be able to.

True or not, I like the concept.

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