2.1 - More on Simplification

Loss of fidelity means loss of understanding

So, after I posted the original thread on Simplification, I was on twitter and saw this thread:

With a pretty simple example, Chris demonstrates how nuance gets lost pretty quickly in language and through simplification. I thought it was a great example and decided to spend a minute or two exploring it here.

This really resonated with me because we're going through something right now at work or trying to talk about what we do to provide value to the organization and the word “coach” is really an oversimplification of what we do in the organization.

We do a combination of:

  • Consultation

  • Coaching

  • Training

  • Facilitation

  • Mentoring

  • Therapy provider

  • Designing

  • and more that I can’t think of in this moment..

My take on it in the moment:

“Improvement coach” is an oversimplification that loses all of the nuance of all of the things described that we do as a part of what we would call coaching, or consulting. There are lots of ways to improve, and many of them we wouldn’t guide people toward because they don’t align with our principles or outcomes.

Trying to add single adjectives in front like “Lean coach” or “Agile coach” still loses the nuance and the scope. It narrows the scope to quickly and still relies on understanding in context. Some people might look at this and say, “So what? Who cares?”

This oversimplification and categorization can lead to a diminishing or a misunderstanding of the role in the organization, and mislead people about all of the values that are group and organization bring. It can quickly turn into, “Oh, I didn’t know you did that.. I would have asked for help that way a long time ago” on the lighter end of the spectrum, the way to “Why are you doing that?! That’s not your job. Stay in your lane…”

In any case, there’s a lot of great replies in the thread exploring the topic, and it’s that kind of shared understanding and sensemaking that can help.