The rule of simplicity

The rule of simplicity

Simple is best. Neuroscience supports this strategy and I try to apply the concept everywhere in business and life, especially in decision-making or when things feel uncertain or chaotic. It’s not always easy to pare things down to what’s essential, but there’s a lot of value in doing so.

  • You can BUILD ON what’s essential because it won’t change much
  • You can be GUIDED BY what’s essential because it keeps you pointed in the right direction
  • Other things FALL INTO PLACE when you focus on what’s essential because it delivers the biggest bang for the resources

I’ll give two examples.

Simplicity in Business & Branding

When I launched Phrase Strategy in 2018, I had two focuses: helping businesses articulate their Essential Stories (brand stories) and helping business leaders articulate their unique voices through writing coaching. While the inter-relationship between these makes perfect sense to me, they are two different things. That made the “elevator pitch” difficult to deliver and too vague to understand.

At Phrase Strategy, Essential Stories are, well, essential. They are the root, foundation, and core of a strong brand. Also, people understand the concept of branding and re-branding, whereas they need education about how an Essential Story is at the root of achieving branding goals.

The SIMPLE thing was to focus on branding. My expertise is working with established organizations, so the message is about figuring out where a brand needs to go next. This led to the tagline: (re)fine, (re)fresh, (re)brand.

Now, here’s a personal development example.

Simplicity in Teaching/Development

For nearly as long as I’ve run marketing and branding businesses, I’ve also run Smoothstyle, a part-time partner-dance studio. We teach adults to dance in group and one-on-one settings, and I train instructors to teach.

The single most important, high-value skill I’ve learned and reinforce with my instructors is the “One Thing Rule”. Students advance faster and more consistently when they focus on improving one thing at a time. Period.

The trick is figuring out what the One Thing should be – i.e. what is the essential thing for that student to focus on right now. There are several ways to go about figuring that out, but the speediest and most accurate way is to find the right third-party support. In business and branding, that means hiring a (re)branding expert. In personal development, it means finding the right coach.

You need a third party on the job not because you don’t know your business, brand, or yourself best. You need a third party on the job because you know too much, are deeply entangled.

My clients (and students) feel great relief when they experience the clarity of finding and focusing on what’s essential. It enables ease of forward momentum. Please check out Phrase Strategy’s Client stories for more examples.