To paraphrase my father – “Anything worth doing is worth doing simply.”
He may have said “is worth doing well” but I think that may be a sub-set of what I wrote.
Too often when faced with an objective/goal we overcomplicate the process needed to achieve that goal. I think the more important the goal the more complicated the solution needs to be.
Nothing is further from the truth. I firmly believe simple solutions force you to get to the crux of the matter – the real core of the issue – and ultimately give you a better chance of success. Complexity is simply imposter syndrome manifested. When we need to impress folks with our capabilities we want to show off. And what better way to show off than to make our solution so epically complex that you (me) are the only one who is even remotely skilled enough to solve the problem.
But you’d be wrong.
Simple is best.
To quote James Clear, author of Atomic Habits:
A 5-step process for nearly anything:
Explore widely. Find out what is possible.
Test cheaply. Run small, quick experiments. Sample things.
Edit ruthlessly. Focus on the best. Cut everything else.
Repeat what works. Don’t quit on a good idea.
Return to 1.
What is important to take away from this 5-step process is the fact that you don’t spend too much time on the research – it is the first step, but the real magic happens in the second step. The experimentation step.
There is no substitute for seeing your solution in real-time in the real world.
Your work, and your life, should lean heavily on simple solution processes to be able to test and evaluate quickly.
I know if you do that one thing – experiment quickly and react – you’ll get to the correct solution faster and cheaper than those who spend the majority of the time researching the problem and drafting a “possible” solution.
And today’s marketplace is driven by speed AND accuracy.
The most accurate and spot-on solution delivered too late is the same thing as a bad solution.
Think through your incentive and reward strategy and look for ways to run small experiments. Tweak this, turn that dial, add this communication channel, send more email, send less email, including SMS text messaging, increase award values, decrease goal targets, ad infinitum.
If you can’t do these little experiments on your platform you’re on the wrong technology. You need to be able to create, launch and evaluate a program design quickly and easily. If it takes 6 months to design and another 3 or 6 months to code and launch you’ve already lost the race.
My timeline in today’s market seems to be more like this:
- Two weeks of research
- Two weeks modeling
- Two weeks configuring
- Evaluating results daily/weekly/etc. – with changes as needed.
This will give you a 4-6 month head start on your competitors that follow the “old” way of doing things.
Keep it simple. Keep it manageable.
Simple makes things less fragile to fix. Complex solutions have too many details, forcing you to spend too much time “managing” the process you created instead of evaluating the results you may not be creating.
5 simple steps.
Do it simply.