Ben’s practical approach to life was admired by many and certainly has much to teach us about executive leadership.
In business, complexity is the enemy of common sense. When business ideas are allowed to flourish in the form of highly complicated and confusing concepts, common sense is often a casualty. Complexity hides basic truths and we don’t have to look very far to find examples
Senior executives must constantly be on guard for ideas that are too hard to explain, are expressed with emotion rather than logic, and are pitched with certainty, often by individuals convinced of their superior intellect. “Trust me on this one, I completely understand the issues.” To ensure common sense prevails you should:
In business, common sense is an important litmus test for good decision making. By asking questions like, “Does the idea pass the reasonableness test?"
Would I do this with my own money?
Can the idea be expressed simply?
Is it supported by facts?
These are the kind of questions Ben would likely ask.
We would all do well to heed his wisdom; it is as relevant today as it was 250 years ago.