Why Lethal Simplicity Should Be Every Leaders Approach

2 Things Willie Taggart Taught Me About Leadership

There’s a new leadership term that will help leaders and their teams achieve results fast and often thanks to Willie Taggart: Lethal Simplicity.

Lethal Simplicity

If you are a fan of college football, there’s a new sheriff in Tallahassee. Willie Taggart has become the new head ball coach of the Seminoles with the recent departure of Jimbo Fisher.

Many will argue that how Jimbo left was classless and some will argue the same of how Willie left Oregon after just one year. In the world of college football, dream jobs don’t become available often so the “right time” may not be the “best time” for all parties.

I don’t write about sports primarily so this won’t be a post on why some coaches chase the big paydays at the expense of the promises and relationships they hurt of the players, boosters, and fans of their previous schools.

This post will focus on my thoughts on leadership after watching the introductory press conference of Willie Taggart. Full discloser, I am a lifelong fan of Florida State and my brother Wayne Messam is a proud alum and former National Champ wide receiver for the Noles.

As a leadership development specialist, I watched the press conference with the lens of what type of leader are the Seminoles getting in Taggart. I must say after watching the press conference and reviewing his past experience as a head coach, a darn good one!


Commination is a key quality all great leaders have and Taggart demonstrated his ability to connect with every audience that cares about FSU football.

He acknowledged the past, present and future state of the program and his vision of not rebuilding but realigning the program to work for and achieve greatness.

When asked to describe his “Gulf Coast” offense, Taggart gave an amazing response, “Lethal Simplicity”.

He defined this further by saying, “We want to score fast and often.”  As a former Division 1 wide receiver myself, this sounds like music to my ears.


Too often leaders try to over complicate the mission and strategy of achieving results. Fancy terminology and complicated formations look good on paper but execution can be spotty and difficult to duplicate.

As leaders, the goal isn’t to make things complicated and confusing. You want to make things simple and achievable.

Clarity provides a clear path to what’s expected. When you as a leader make things easy to see and understand, the more likely your team will execute.

When assuming a new leadership role we should all look to implement a “lethal simplicity” approach. One that is clear, focused and achievable.

When most of us are called to lead it’s typically due to two reasons: lead to change or lead to results.

Lethal simplicity gives leaders an approach that will disrupt the status quo with a simple and achievable plan.

Here are the two things Willie Taggart taught me about leadership.

Score Fast & Score Often

1. Score Fast

You may be familiar with the concept of “low hanging fruit”. It’s a thing or person that can be won, obtained, or persuaded with little effort.

During my time as a pharmaceutical sales rep, I quickly identified my low hanging fruit customers as those who liked and currently prescribed our medications.

It was easier for me to get them to write more than it was to change the habits of physicians who didn’t prescribe at all.

This also translates over into the leadership world. When you can identify low hanging fruits as a leader you give your team the ability to achieve quick wins.

Nothing motivates a team more than winning.  Small victories lead to bigger wins which create a winning culture.

2. Score Often

Most successful organizations including sports team are accustomed to hitting their goals often. Scoring often creates a force so strong that every team tries to capture it; momentum.

Leadership guru John Maxwell stated in his Law of the Big Mo that “Momentum is a leader’s best friend.” If any industry understands the power of momentum it’s the sports world.

The teams that score fast and scores often are usually the teams that win. This is true as well for you as a leader.

Your ability to accumulate quick wins and ability to duplicate those results are essential to your success as a leader.

When you score often it eliminates wasted opportunities. Nothing knocks the sail out of momentums wind like wasted opportunities. It’s easier to duplicate results when you have the Big Mo behind you.

As a Noles fan, yes I am excited about the new direction the program is headed under the leadership of Willie Taggart. As a student of leadership, I am even more excited to implement “Lethal Simplicity” into my leadership approach.

I want to encourage you as a leader to identify the low hanging fruits that you and your team can achieve (quick wins). Then I want you to focus on duplicating those efforts to get the momentum that will be necessary to make winning a part of your culture.

Scoring fast and often isn’t only relevant for football it’s also relevant with leadership.

What’s the low hanging fruit for your organization? Have you identified any quick wins that your team can pursue?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.