By Jeff Shore
Brain Strain

“Simplify. Simplify.”
Henry David Thoreau

Personally, I think one “simplify” would have been sufficient. Even Thoreau couldn’t get this right! 😉

Not surprising, though. Complexity acts as a self-feeding organism. Left to its own, complexity will take over your business, burying your long-term growth in the process.

But what are your customers hoping to do? In a word: multiply.

Multiply their results. Multiply their success. Multiply their peace of mind.

Here’s the problem: You cannot multiply out of complexity. You must simplify in order to multiply.

From Your Customer’s Perspective

If you want to think about your customer’s mental journey, focus on one word: uncertainty.

Regardless of your product or service, your customer faces a seemingly limitless amount of uncertainty. Some uncertainty may seem miniscule but some uncertainty is overwhelming. Despite its level of intensity, uncertainty is ever-present.

To your customer, uncertainty means complexity. There is a tangled web around the process of making decisions.

Complex (defined): “So complicated or intricate as to be hard to understand or deal with.”

Psychologists call this cognitive disfluency. I prefer the more common vernacular: brain strain.

Consider this. How much brain strain can your customer take before they throw in the towel? At what point does complexity become so overwhelming that they simply walk away?

The Remedy – A Psychological Hack

If you need a workaround to this testy conundrum you might consider this simple but profound mental hack. (This is my exceedingly simple summation of the work of Daniel Kahneman, PhD and founder of behavioral economics.)

In your customer’s mind, you can count on this truth: Easy = Right.

The easier a concept or vision seems to be, the “righter” it feels.

The converse is also true. Complex = Wrong.

Customers are constantly bumping up against their own “ceiling of complexity” (a term borrowed from the genius founder of Strategic Coach, Dan Sullivan).

They become overwhelmed in their considerations and uncertainties. The answer is out there – beyond the ceiling. The customer, meanwhile, continues to bang their head.

Thinking in Context

If you wish to apply the easy = right tactic you should start by ensuring that all your communication is presented in context. Too much focus on the details without an understanding of the big picture will cause complexity, and thus uncertainty.

Think “macro-to-micro”: get the broad vision clear and then support it with details.

Consider the cold-flu remedy aisle in the drug store. Talk about cognitive strain! There are seemingly thousands of choices/uncertainties.

I applaud the chain that allows me to check all the symptoms on an iPad screen and then it spits out something that says, “You want FluBeGone Extreme®. It’s on the second shelf, just in front of your right knee.”

I implore you to challenge your value position. What are you doing that is adding brain strain to your customer? How can you simplify your offering so that your customers can multiply their results?