Recently I found some mental space to think about what basic, simple principles should guide my work.
Never be an energy sink
What keeps people going is excitement, a sense of purpose and a safe environment.
The fuel for all of this is energy. By energy I mean; the general will to live, to build and to be excited about the future.
Every interaction — no matter what the context is — with one another should leave them with more energy, never less. I don't always adhere to this but I should.
Set clear priorities and watch people figure out the rest
Your team is a climbing party attempting summit. A party of well-equipped, experienced climbers is all but wasted if you don't know where the summit is.
That goal should be trivially-measurable, compact enough to fit in a single breath, sufficiently daunting to raise your pulse.
Once again: Trivial to measure. Simple to say. Hard to do. Finding that magic formula is difficult and indispensable.
If you're not there, try again, fail again, fail better.
Never add complexity
Managers that grow complexity within their group and leak it outside are bad managers.
Most people do not think simple enough. Simple is fast, simple is smooth. Simple is easy to learn, to explain, to build and to maintain. Simple can be scary. There's comfort in complex, deceiving with promises of plenitude.
If you find yourself in a wearisome meeting on an important matter where progress seems slow, chances are you have failed to think simple. Flip it over and think about the simplest solution and propose just that.
You will find that simple adds energy, as opposed to complex, that saps energy. As we've covered, energy is the essential aether to keep building, so this is important. Simple becomes obvious once works, stays hidden thereafter. Complex lingers like a dubious ache, often wrapped in the pride of achieving complex.
Finally, Simple takes blunt force trauma to implement. Complex sneaks its way in, drip by drip. It is often better to scrap it all and start from scratch.
Deeply strategising is how companies dream. Great managers make room for profound discussions to happen, thanks to simplifying everything else.
And those who can't even dream, won't dare mighty things.