Make the Complex Simple to Achieve Better Results

“I’m looking for simple solutions for complex problems.” – Anthony Sullivan, Pitchmen

We live in a complex world that is getting more and more complex by the day. The speed of information, the number of choices, and the constant evolution of technology can tend to overwhelm a lot of us.

That’s why there is so much power in making the complex simple. It’s a competitive advantage that will help you achieve better results.

Apple is a great example of this. The iPhone, iPad and iTunes are complex technologies but they have made a user interface that is simple and easy to understand. Right out of the box you can use your iPad and iPhone with simple instructions and minimal effort. There’s no 487 page manual written in cryptic code, it’s just simple steps that make it easy to use for the average person.

Making it simple means removing barriers.

It’s about helping others to make sense of it all.

It’s also about you.

Simple makes life easier for others but simple also helps you get them to move down the path you’d like them to go or, in other words, to take the action you’d like them to take.

For instance…

If you have a website and are trying to sell a product or get someone to opt in for something, focus on the primary thing. Don’t junk up your page with 87 different items all screaming for attention. Have a landing page specific to the primary product or opt in goal. Make it all about that one thing so that the consumer is not confused with what action you want them to take. Give them clear steps to where you want them to go. Simple is about clarity and focus.

If you are a pastor or communicator, consider dropping the 3 point message and replace it with 1 primary point that your entire message builds around. What is the 1 thing you want people to walk away with that day? What is the 1 action you want them to take? Drill it down, reinforce it and repeat it. 3 points are great but in today’s busy world where attention spans are dwindling, 3 points can be too many points that complete with each other for space. Simplifying is key if you want them to retain.

If you are a leader, make sure you are conveying the vision of your organization in a way that everyone understand. If it’s too complex they won’t get the essence of it and as a result you may have teams driving in different directions without a clear destination. Simple helps people to understand.

How do you make the complex simple in your world?

Start by taking an objective look around you. Take an honest inventory of what you communicate, how you communicate and how your product or systems work. Don’t “assume” you know the answer. You’re often too close to see the what the end-user sees. You suffer from The Curse of Knowledge.

Get outside of you perspective and ask, do research, interact with your customers, test and test again to see if simplified changes create better results.

The more potential resistance you can remove (from the customer), the greater probability you will have at success.

Question: How can you make the complex simple in your work?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • NJW

    This is what I call a "keeper" email. One thing I learned when entering the online land of teaching versus leading a seminar or workshop for one day; online is to be a few short points and the workshop is more detailed. Our world is a place where we must understand the different styles in communication for each venue. Think, write, review the avenue of publication and then post.

  • Keeping things simple is essential to get your point across. Using superficial language and complicated jargon only hampers communication. People try to use really complex words and technical terms thinking that it will make them sound cleverer or more professional. But such kind of communication serves no purpose. A good communicator will understand his audience and frame his words in way that they can relate to it and understand it better, even if he has to talk simply to do that.On a parallel note, I read this really interesting post by Jason Seiden about ‘Speaking Plain’ ( I thought it was really relevant and the way he put his point across was really clever.
    – Sindoora (

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