Simple or Complicated? It’s Your Decision.

I work with all kinds and sizes of businesses and it’s fascinating to see the commonalities among those that are doing well, and among those that are struggling. People in a struggling business are likely to say, “You have to understand that this is a very complicated business.” People in a successful business will usually say, “You know, at the end of the day, this is really a pretty simple business.”

Moving Mountains

“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” – Steve Jobs. I love the words that Steve Jobs chose: “get your thinking clean to make it simple.” That’s no easy task.

Too Many Choices

When we have unlimited choices, that’s a good thing, isn’t it? Not really. In 2000, Sheena Iyengar of Columbia University conducted a legendary marketing study on the effect of too many choices. What she did was set up a display of jams outside a grocery store in Menlo Park, California. She rotated the display between having 6 flavors to choose from and 24 flavors to choose from.

Simplicity and Focus

I’ve been studying and working with extraordinary organizations and top performing individuals for over thirty years. The most common and powerful factor in all of their successes has been the ability to simplify and focus. The two go hand in hand, because in order to get to simplicity, you have to have focus.

Have Problems. Do It Wrong.

The Head of School at my daughter’s high school asked the assembled parents a question, “How many of you want your children to learn to be problem-solvers?” All hands went up. He then asked, “How many of you want your children to have problems in school this year?” One or two hands went up, mine included.

And This is How We Lose…

My friend Scott McKain wrote a great blog about the true nature of what being a champion means. He uses sports as a great analogy to show that it’s not a matter of dominance, but rather a matter of degree. It made me think of another perspective on winning which is completely different than sports. Think about how we win, and become champions, in business.