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What is Elegance?
Coco Chanel stated that simplicity is the key to any kind of true elegance.
But I dare to differ. Very often simplicity is not elegant at all. If we over-simplify our world, it becomes mono-dimensional, monochrome, lifeless and boring. If we simplify our world-view to an extent where the good cowboys wear white hats, and the bad cowboys black hats, we miss the multi-colour richness of experience the real world has to offer.
Instead of trying to manage the complexities we face through black-and-white reductionism, we need to embrace our complex reality, merging with it, thus gaining a deep, complete and essential understanding of it.
Once we have achieved a state of total immersion in a topic, we may find that elegant solutions suddenly present themselves in the most unexpected moments, like a flash of lightning, when inspiration strikes. Elegant solutions may seem simple at first, but don't be deceived!
This type of simplicity is rich, complex, and deeply satisfying. It addresses the real root causes of a situation, and it usually has a broad-ranging effect. In the fields of information technology, mathematics and engineering, elegant solutions provide a surprisingly simple method, which is normally not obvious at first sight, to produce a highly effective result, often solving multiple problems at once - even problems which may not be inter-related!
Maybe Coco Chanel's little black dress can teach us a lesson about true elegance? This little black piece of magic is designed to reveal just enough, and hide just enough of the lady wearing it, in order to highlight her beauty, whilst at the same time concealing possible challenges in the most complimentary way. Ideally, the little black dress should not be noticed at all by the beholder. If it does its job well, it should simply act as a platform on which the lady can shine! Elegant solutions are often gentlemanly, unassuming, polite, working their miracles in the background. They don't have to promote themselves. Elegant results speak for themselves!
Andreas is the Managing Partner of the Living Water Institute Ltd. based in Switzerland. He is a seasoned executive coach and corporate management consultant with more than 26 years of hands-on leadership experience in business, servicing clients around the world.
He worked in the financial services industry in Europe for 10 years at the beginning of his career, establishing and leading the Advisory Services Network as Managing Director, from where he went on to become a Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, before starting his own business.
Andreas holds an MBA from City University of Seattle USA, as well as a Ph.D. from the American Institute of Holistic Theology. Andreas graduated from Zurich University’s teacher’s training college and he studied systemic solution-oriented coaching at the University of North-Western Switzerland and CoachU, USA. He is a Master Practitioner of NLP and a certified Birkman consultant.
Andreas lives in Switzerland with his wife Marinette, a medical doctor specialized in paediatric orthopaedics, and his lovely daughter Josianne.