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Simplify in 2022

Simplify is my Word of the Year for 2022.

A few years ago, I started each year with a focus word rather than a slew of resolutions. Two years ago, my word was “Intentional.” The focus was on taking planned actions towards a goal rather than just reacting. Last year it was “Consistent.” The idea was to take those planned actions regularly to maximize their effectiveness.

For 2022 my word is “Simply.” After two years focused on actions, I know some are more effective than others. And not all steps are necessary. For 2022 I will focus on reducing activity to those that make a significant difference in my life and business.

Reducing complexity is not easy for me. My Core Values Assessment (take it here) shows me to be an Innovator. I like coming up with new ideas. I love trying new things. It can drive remarkable outcomes, but I can also drive myself a little bit crazy. So in 2022, as creativity calls, I will look more toward my Banker to gauge the effectiveness and my Builder to take action.

The opposite of my goal to simplify in 2022 is to create complexity. And there are a lot of problems when creating complexity. It can be expensive or create confusion and even cause you to lose your focus.

Simplify in 2022 to better manage resources

Complexity is expensive.

When we create complex, multi-step processes, we are creating expenses. Sometimes that expense is justified. We need that complexity to mitigate significant risks.

And as we create processes, leaders need to ensure any complexity has a relevant return on investment that increases efficiency or safety or improves outcomes. We’re hurting our profitability if we develop complexity to make sure some random, unlikely event won’t occur. In all things, balance. Make sure what you put in place is worth it financially before implementing it. You’ll value that upfront investment in time.

Complexity is Confusing

My background is in sales management. And core to any sales organization is an incentive plan. And my inner innovator loved to create incentive plans. My desire to motivate all the right things and cover every contingency led to my creating incentive plans that likely did neither.

Sales reps want to make money, and they want a clear path to get there. The multi-step, if/then nature of these plans didn’t generate the outcomes I wanted because it wasn’t clear how they made the most money. And payouts were a nightmare to calculate and harder to explain.

When we create complexity, we lose people. If we want our teams to succeed, we need to clarify the simplest possible terms. Show them what success looks like and the path to get there. That is how you will win in 2022.

Complexity Makes you Lose Focus

My earlier Words of the Year were designed to improve my focus. And while they were successful, I found that I began to lose focus where I created the most complex schemes. Science tells us we can only hold three or four ideas in our conscious minds. And when we develop processes that ask us to hold more than that, we quickly lose them.

When we simplify what we focus on, we give our brains more opportunities to solve problems and take action. We can get more done when doing fewer things. Crazy, I know, but give it a try.

When I work with clients on their One Page Business Plans, I suggest only 5 to 7 measurable goals and never more than 9. And when looking at significant business-building initiatives, I never let my clients have more than three going on in a given quarter. Sometimes it’s a fight, but they see that focusing on less helps them accomplish more with tremendous success.

So that’s it. In 2022 I will simplify, and I encourage you to do the same.

Does it seem like a struggle? Why not schedule a quick call for us to discuss it? Have a great 2022!