The most important actions…

are simple but difficult.

In the movie, Hidden Figures, Katherine Johnson is gone from her desk for 40 minutes a day. When confronted by her boss, he reprimands her. Eventually, she explodes on him and the rest of the office revealing that the segregated bathroom situation for colored people is the issue. There is no bathroom nearby that she can use. When confronted with this fact, the boss ends the segregated bathroom policies and solves the problems.

While the problem was eventually resolved, the boss made all kinds of assumptions about the situation, about Katherine’s character, about the workplace, and he didn’t have all the facts. He came at her aggressively, and while he resolved the challenges, it took a collision of forces to do so.

It wouldn’t have been difficult to ask, “Is there something going on that’s keeping your from your desk? And can I help?” However, it’s hard to constantly assume that the issues we’re looking at have causes that we aren’t aware of. Asking people why is easy, but doing it consistently is hard.

Simple but difficult. That’s the most important work in a nutshell. It generally goes against human nature. We have to train for it. Remind ourselves. Improve. It pays off in the end if you do, though you’ll have to accept there will always be room for improvement.