Keep it Simple

simplify“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” ~ Charles Mingus

As I’ve been working through a couple of complex projects, I realized with dismay that they were getting ever more complicated with each iteration and in fact, getting me further away from my goal, which was to simplify things. In order to engage others, I need to keep the message and delivery simple while not taking away from the core elements of the project to achieve the desired results.

Why does the message and delivery need to be simple? Because we as humans are wired that way, we take things in and gravitate to that which is simple vs. something complex. A recent Journal of Economic Psychology study found this out by watching gas stations in New York City to see what people did at the pump. More than 50% of those filling up with gas ended the total purchase on $.00 or $.01, (those who were not quick enough to end on zero). When asked why they stated that it was “easier” and they even liked it. I thought this was rather silly when I first heard it because I have never done that but then I got to thinking about my own behaviors. When recording a check, (yes, I still write a few each month), I round up to the nearest dollar. Why? Because it’s easier. When talking about the price of something, it’s always to the nearest dollar – never cents. Keeping it simple.

So what does this mean to those of us running businesses? Think about your customers and your employees. For customers, how easy is your price list to decipher? Does it put you to sleep? Maybe it’s time to make it more customer-friendly and “simple.” If you have multiple calculations for your dealers or distributors to figure out their pricing, maybe there is some way to make it easier. What about your website? Can someone get to what they need in 3 clicks or less? If not, you may want to see what you can do to simplify the content organization or the look and feel.

For your employees, is your bonus or commission calculation so complicated that you continue to get questions about it? An employee should know easily how much they are going to get and how they can affect that outcome without a lot of calculations.

Look around your business and see what has become unintentionally “overly complicated” over the years. Dial it back. Ask your employees if you can’t see it for yourself. I guarantee they will point it out to you in about two seconds. Let them help you with the solutions. Remember that people are much more likely to adhere to what they have created or helped to create.

Think of it like spring cleaning for your business. Change or get rid of anything that can be made simpler. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Now everyone can spend more time on what’s really important vs. trying to decipher the complicated.

photo credit: via photopin cc