Monday, August 19, 2013

Simplicity is the Secret

(Read in Norwegian)
It's hard to keep it simple, but once simple it's hard not to succeed. How does one simplify when most of what we do tends to be complex?

There's an inherent struggle behind every success. What is it? It's to break the code of simplicity. Is simplicity important to success? Maybe Leonardo da Vinci summarized it best when he stated "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"?

Why Catch The Tail Wind of Simple?
Did you ever find that once you were able to simplify something really important but sophisticated, you finally caught the wind in your sails? Many years ago I was heading up a global conference with players from every continent.

More than 30 nations were representend, but we were faced with a huge challenge: "How to communicate the same message to everyone in such a way that it triggered action?"

It was at this time that I discovered the real meaning behind "less is more". For years we had struggled (in reality FAILED) with all to much text, explanations, multimedia, websites and more. But now, instead, we cut it short to less than five words and remained focused on those five words. The result? Action coming our way.

How Do We Get to Simple?
In Norwegian there's a rather famous phrase from REMA1000 that states: "Det enkle er ofte det beste". An idiomatic translation to English might be "Often simple is better". There's a challenge however. Getting to simple isn't easy. Getting to simple is hard (work). In fact, I believe the nack for simplicity is a talent one can develop.

Einstein is often attributed with this quote: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Here are 7 key questions to help you reach the power of simplicity:
  1. Do you really understand a problem whose solution has value to others?
  2. Have you defined the solution in simple terms? (e.g. with less than 5 words)
  3. Do people instantly understand it?
  4. Is it timeless and worth a lifetime of study?
  5. Can you make money repeating it?
  6. Does it resemble art by how everybody sees it differently, but every view adds value and a richer perspective?
  7. Will it spread in and of itself?
Conclusion: Simple Comes When You Are Focused
The 15 years I've helped companies get focused I've always found that "simple" is the result of truly getting focused. The staggering beauty of "simple" is focus. That's why focus remains my focus.

If you haven't reached a simple message, a simple product or simple service you are not focused, and the result is what? Your potential customers are not triggered by what is too complicated and therefore you have to do all the work yourself. Good luck with that!

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