Simplexity rules …..

Or at least my definition ‘creating something simple out of a complex situation’ is I believe key to leadership and success in today’s business environment.

Of course, we can all see many examples of where businesses have been successful and stand out from the crowd by taking something that is actually very complex and marketing it in a way that is both more simple and therefore more exciting than the competition. Classic cases that many of us have enjoyed are:

  • iPod/iEverything – just the simplicity of the original ‘click wheel’ to navigate 1000’s of music tracks was a jaw-dropping experience followed up by many others
  • Google – the empty screen with a single search box has provided most of us with the simplest and yet the best way to explore the internet
  • PayPal – provided the simplest (and most secure) way for us all to spend our money on eBay driving rapid growth in eCommerce for items as low as £1

However, simplexity as I see it doesn’t just apply in the provision of a simple customer experience (although I believe this is key to competitive advantage and rapid viral customer advocacy and adoption). We all seem to face more complexity than ever before; rapid change in new technologies and services, faster new market entrants & competition, globalisation, new methods of payment & business models, fragmented media platforms, etc.

So thinking and implementing ‘simplexity’ needs to be at the heart of the mindset of today’s leader such as:

  • a simple vision of ‘what good needs to look like’ for the team to aim towards – define this with life examples so everyone can picture what you’re aiming towards
  • a clarity of prioritisation – rather than the ‘things to do’ of over 50 items make sure you are focused on the few things that are going to make the biggest difference
  • communication that never leaves the potential to be misunderstood or misinterpreted – simple and straightforward is required and ‘less is more’ is often a good aim!

  • why is a customer going to love this and advocate it to their friends/colleagues? – I really like to understand the ‘pub test’ as to how a customer will want to show off what we are doing for them
  • how can our communications stand out in the market? – we all know that simple messages are those that cut-through most but more often that not we don’t do it and get carried away with the details
  • how is this going to make money? – explore the broader market environment and focus on how you can best drive profits both directly and with partners

Of course all of this sounds simple – which it really should be – but it’s surprising how many times I (and many other businesses I have seen) have lost sight of the need for simplicity as they have got themselves stuck in the wonderful details of the technology, the lack of focus or the complexity of the market.

I believe that if you can manage simplexity both as a leader and in what/how you go to market you will put more smiles on more peoples faces – which has got to be a good thing for being successful!


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