The world is an incredibly complicated place, and it drives me nuts sometimes.

Just when I think I’ve teased apart one problem, I find it’s connected to something else. And on and on!

So how should we deal with this fact of life?

I take some comfort in this quote: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Some say it comes from Albert Einstein, but I’m not sure anyone knows.

The point is to simplify what you can, even though there are limits and complications. And to hold to some core principles.

For example, you could decide to hold yourself to a high standard of honesty and transparency in front of your team. That made a whole lot of decisions simpler, until six months later you realize that there are things which just can’t be shared with everyone.

So you ponder that for a while, and realize that there are some refined principles to use in these situations.

  • “I can’t disclose that information, and here’s why: ____”
  • “I’ll be able to give you the full story when we’re able to make the Big Announcement.”
  • “I haven’t decided yet, but I promise to let you know when I do.”

These hold true to your deeper intention behind the principle of honesty and transparency, while still being simple and straightforward. Most of the time, your folks will understand and support your need for not disclosing something sensitive.

And since you thought through this in advance, you’ve decided what mode you’ll have to use when, rather than trying to make it up on the fly.

It makes a complicated scenario much, much simpler.