Dieter’s design criteria can be summarized by a characteristically succinct principle, captured in just three German words: Weniger aber besser. The English translation is: Less but better. A more fitting definition of Essentialism would be hard to come by.
Think of Warren Buffett, who has famously said, “Our investment philosophy borders on lethargy.”
Once a month he gathers each employee of his fifty-person company into a room for a full day. Phones are prohibited. E-mail is outlawed. There is no agenda.
worth it. Enric is one of those relatively rare examples of someone who is doing work that he loves, that taps his talent, and that serves an important need in the world.
of CEO as being the chief editor of the company.
GIVE ME SIX HOURS TO CHOP DOWN A TREE AND I WILL SPEND THE FIRST FOUR SHARPENING THE AXE. —Attributed to Abraham Lincoln
Similarly, we can adopt a method of “minimal viable progress.” We can ask ourselves, “What is the smallest amount of progress that will be useful and valuable to the essential task we are trying to get done?” I used this practice in writing this book. For example, when I was still in the exploratory mode of the book, before I’d even begun to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), I would share a short idea (my minimal viable product) on Twitter. If it seemed to resonate with people there, I would write a blog piece on Harvard Business Review. Through this iterative process, which required very little effort, I was able to find where there seemed to be a connection between what I was thinking and what seemed to have the highest relevancy in other people’s lives.
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The Essentialist designs a routine that makes achieving what you have identified as essential the default position.
Nonessentialist Essentialist Tries to execute the essentials by force Allows nonessentials to be the default Designs a routine that enshrines what is essential, making execution almost effortless Makes the essential the default position
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FCS (a.k.a. FOCUS) to teach his philosophy to his employees. The letters stand for “Fewer things done better,” “Communicating the right information to the right people at the right time,” and “Speed and quality of decision making.” Indeed, this is what it means to lead essentially.
The Nonessentialist disempowers people by allowing ambiguity over who is doing what. Often this is justified in the name of wanting to be a flexible or agile team.
An Essentialist understands that clarity is the key to empowerment. He doesn’t allow roles to be general and vague. He ensures that everyone on the team is really clear about what they are expected to contribute and what everyone else is contributing.
Nora Ephron, “The Best Journalism