Avoid displeasure -use the KISS technique

Published on the Malta Today issue 27th August 2011


Quoting Wikipedia one discovers the origins of the acronym KISS. Depending on whom you speak to¸ KISS either stands for keep it simple¸ stupid¸ keep it short and simple¸ keep it simple or be stupid or even keep it simple and straightforward. Either way¸ the KISS acronym holds firm and does apply in all formats – simplicity is the name of the game and one should avoid unnecessary complexity. This phrase was first coined by Mr Johnson a leading engineer at the illustrious Lockheed jet aircraft division in America. As can be inferred there was no implicit meaning that an engineer in question was anything but stupid. Wikipedia informs us that the principle is best exemplified by the story of Johnson handing a team of design engineers a handful of tools¸ with the challenge that the jet aircraft they were designing must be repairable by an average mechanic in the field under combat conditions limited to using only these tools.

Hence¸ the ‘stupid’ refers to the relationship between the way things may go wrong and the sophistication ( a touch of genius ) available to fix them. Taking another example in American politics we see how in the 1992 presidential election campaign¸ Democratic strategist James Carville famously unveiled the mantra that did help decide the election by stating¸ “It’s the economy¸ stupid.” It was a simple and efficient message targeting a US electorate disillusioned about job losses and a slow economic recovery. With hindsight we recall how incumbent George H.W. Bush¸ who had a 90-plus per cent approval rating after the Gulf War¸ would end up losing the second term as a president¸ conceding victory to the maverick democrat Bill Clinton. Back to President Obama whose ratings are down to below 40 per cent and needs a well deserved boost he may well need to take a page out of Carville’s concepts and focus on the KISS principle—”keep it simple¸ stupid.”

Right now¸ the economy and especially the jobs sector are anything but simple. In fact a lot of energy has been dissipated on reforms on spiraling healthcare costs¸ which would continue with or without an Obama reform¸ and still after billions of dollars to the rescue there appears no simple solution in sight. The complexity of Obama ‘s strategy goes to explain why he is not an adherent of the KISS technique. Meanwhile¸ Tea Party opponents who are anathema to any tax increase or any increased government intervention have gained Kudos and produced their own KISS strategy. They are scaring people that the Obama reforms will end up in dismantling the healthcare regime. Leaving politics apart for a moment let us visit the investment circles .

Here one encounters many instances where managers are familiar and implement the KISS concept. The simpler your strategy¸ the easier it is to implement in practical terms. Practitioners are advised against opting for an intricate business plan which most of the time will only increase the chances of going seriously wrong and procrastinating an effective and efficient solution. The first question to ask is “Why and when is Risk Management essential to be kept simple and effective ?” The whole idea of this exercise is to identify uncertainties in the business formation and evaluate them in order to determine in their basic format what