Simple. Not Easy

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Thirty years of developing high technology systems, companies and divisions in the broadcast industry taught it to me. Ten years as a consultant and coach has confirmed it.

Everything can be made simple. And simple is the best path to anything. But those same things have taught me something else: Simple is not the same thing as easy.

We all want easy, but the truth is most things need work, commitment and overcoming. Never mistake simple for easy.

Simplicity provides clarity. It provides clear steps. It removes the mystery of complexity and the fear that complexity engenders. (Here’s a sales secret some people don’t want you to know, often the fear of complexity is a way to use fear to sell you something.).

Whether I do technology consulting, business consulting, I spend a lot more time at the front end learning than most people. I learn how they have done things in the past. I study process. I listen to what they say they want, and then I watch and listen to understand what is unsaid. I learn their fears and failures and the dynamics that make them who they are.

When that is done, and only when that is done, do we create a path to where they want to go. And typically it is simpler than they imagined. But again, simple is not easy. Here’s why:

Simple means every step has increased importance. Leave one out then we damage our path to success.

Simple means change, and change is often hard. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. Change takes work. It involves overcoming things and often those things are our own tendencies, doubts and fears. Simple does not eliminate the work. It gives clarity to what is being done.

People get impatient. We want results right away. But it takes time to reduce anything to it’s vital elements and steps. That time feels like inaction. However, my experience is that in the bigger picture, going for simple does not change the overall timeline much. It feels slower at the start, but once we begin the “work”, the work goes faster. And because we’ve done the “not work” of thinking, understanding and simplifying at the front end, we are much surer of the path as we take it.

We tend to think “if is that simple, everyone would be doing it.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Most people aren’t patient enough to simplify. And of the ones that are left, when they find out simple does not mean easy, they bail.

Complexity works some of the time. Easy works less of the time. But simple works all the time.

SO what are the two things you need to take from all this? First, the realistic truth that simple does not automatically mean easy. And second, that simple works. Every time.

Be well. Travel wisely,

Tom

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