Breaking down the complex into the simple is an exceptional skill to hone
We do a great job of complicating matters when it comes to business. Our daily business lives do not have to be so complex. We can ease overwhelm by trying our best to simplify our daily work. We can start by cutting out the unnecessary. What doesn’t need to be a part of our day? What receives too much of our focus? If we 80/20 our wins, where did they come from? What really made the most impact for us? What 20% of our efforts brought in 80% of our results? When we stepped outside of our normal core competencies, did it work out in our favor or did we stumble?
Entrepreneurs in particular suffer from making things more complex than they need to be. They can be easier. What happens is they get bored when things start working well. Say, an offer is really working well in a marketing campaign. They want to mess with it, see if they can improve it. While perhaps a minor example, the campaign is already proven to be profitable. There’s no need to mess with it further. Perhaps they want to market test their product in a market they don’t know anything about. So, they immediately begin testing without doing the proper research and tweaking the copy so that it aligns with the new marketplace. Often we can get good at messing with a good thing. We make the simple complex which is the opposite of what we want. As Tim Ferriss reminds us, Occam’s rule — simplicity — is the best antidote. As he says, “What would this look like if it were easy?” How many of us are asking that question in our daily problem solving? Great consultants and advisors cut through the complexity and sell simplicity. They see the weeds of complication and whack them down so that the client can see more clearly. That’s really what they’re offering as value: a new way of seeing things. We get too close to our professional problems and have difficulty seeing them from different angles. The job of the consultant is to provide that different angle, that new perspective to the customer, allowing her to see things anew. She may not do what the consultant advises, but the advising is there for her to act upon. For some reason, we’re drawn into the complex, likely because we like to look smart in front of others. And nothing does a better job of making people look faux smart than trying to explain complex topics to others in a poor fashion.
Bill Gates has said, “If you cannot explain something in a simple fashion to someone else, you don’t understand it enough yourself.” We get pulled into the complex whether we like it or not almost unconsciously. It is our job to be aware of it and to pull ourselves out of it. Seek simplicity, both in your work and home life. It is a great relief from the complexities and overwhelm of daily life. If something is bogging you down, it is almost certainly from overwhelm and overt difficulty. And if you’re a consultant or coach, and if you provide simple, proven solutions to people, they will love you for it and buy from you again and again. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with selling the simple, the proven, the repeatable process. Drill it down as much as you can and simplify. Breaking down the complex into the simple is an exceptional skill to hone.