The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. – Hans Hofmann.
Make it simple, but significant. – Don Draper
So this is my focus for 2022! My word of this year is “Simple“.
I remember a conversation with Bob Miller the co-founder of Miller Heiman Group where we were discussing a deal with a large industrial organisation and their brief to us outlined a very complex sales structure. Even when we went into details of understanding their seller KPIs and incentive structure it was really complicated. Bob said, they have complicated their life too much for their own good. “Complex is easy, simple is tough !” This stuck with me and I constantly keep looking out for this.
As I look around me I realise we are continuously investing in making our lives complex. We invest in Technology to reduce time and effort and then bring in other related technologies to support that one technology and then sometimes we land up in this web where we loose the value of the original solution.
We have aggressive audacious goals and in the attempt to deliver on all of them we gather all the resources and create complex project deliverables. After a while people loose the sizzle and projects get abandoned and this adds to the complexity. Then we hire consulting firms for Simplification projects !
I see Sellers fall into this trap, we understand the client needs and in our attempt to create a comprehensive proposal we often make a complex project. Then we are stuck either with the client not buying it or if they do buy then delivery is a challenge.
A friend recently introduced me to a concept (the advantage of intelligent friends!) called the Occam’s razor. Occam’s razor (mental model) can be summarised as follows: Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. In simpler language, Occam’s razor states that the simplest explanation is preferable to one that is more complex. Simple theories are easier to verify. Simple solutions are easier to execute.
So, my goal this year is to consciously break down complexity and focus on the Simple. I know Simple is not easy but it is required. I have identified 3 things that I feel are important for attempting to keep things Simple –
Ask questions to get to the core. Allow the child state of mind to take over and satiate your curiosity. Ask all the questions you need to till you understand the core of the problem. Like Simon Sinek says use the 5 Whys. To make it simple you need to understand it well.
Articulate your understanding and get feedback. Always get feedback and be open to changing your opinion/ project/solution. I understand there is a fear sometimes to feel what if my opinion/project/solution may get rejected, but if it has to get rejected it will anyways with or without an opportunity to seek feedback.
Final one for me, is to remember to Own the outcome and not the idea! There can be many paths to a destination and being open to feedback and learning from others allows you to seek alternatives. You can then pick the Simplest one, cause remember simple solutions are easy to execute.
It is always the simple that produces the marvellous. – Amelia Barr