Looking to design leadership principles that employees can learn, remember and live by? It’s all about keeping it brief, says a new article from Harvard Business Review.

Leadership principles, cultural values, company strategies and the like need to be designed with the human brain in mind. Remember: Leadership principles are meaningless unless they can be recalled easily by employees and discussed with colleagues.

The harder it is to remember something, the less it will be remembered, says author David Rock, co-founder of the Neuroleadership Institute, offering this advice:

  • The key is to find the word or phrase that captures each priority you’re trying to invoke. What are the most important steps leaders need to take to lead the company forward?
  • Keep the principles simple and cohesive, so they can be held in mind as a single chunk, ready to guide decision-making in real time.
  • If a statement takes less than three seconds to say to yourself or say out loud, it is significantly easier to recall and the chances of usage go up dramatically.

See the full HBR article: “Tell Employees What You Want Them to Strive for (in as Few Words as Possible).”