Offers that Reduce Complexity and Simplify

Things are complex and the human mind cannot cope with complexity.  Offers that simplify are therefore attractive.

What is It?

Complexity happens along the border between order and chaos.  Anything complex treads a path between ordered patterns and muddled confusion.

Consequently, complexity is difficult to comprehend and specific complex systems are the domain of specialists.  Mostly people do not want to spend time and energy understanding complexity.

One useful concept is the black box.  You know the inputs and outputs but do not need to know what happens in the box.  So long as the outputs are what you need and you can provide inputs, the details of what happens in the box are not important.

Value to the Client

Find a pattern among the complexity that allows the customer to understand enough to make the system work in their favour.

How to Get There

Take marketing as an example.  There are a bewildering number of marketing techniques available.  Some of these techniques are themselves complex.  No-one set out to create a complex market for marketing techniques.  It has become complex through addition of more and more systems.

The marketing specialist has two choices.  They can specialise in a single technique or else interpret the whole.

Single Technique

Single techniques work well for businesses that know their stage in development and have a clear message to get across to a specific market.  The provider of the technique helps the business clarify whether it meets requirements for the technique.  What if they find the business does not meet the requirements?  OK if they find out before they are a client but several weeks into a contract, it could be a real problem.

Many clients do not know what they want and are likely to show interest in whatever method captures their attention, even though it may not be for their best interest.  The provider must work out whether this is the right client.  It is likely they spend a lot of time setting prospects on the right road instead of making sales.  They can mitigate this to some degree through marketing, so they are clear who benefits from their technique. Few do that perhaps because it is difficult and they are not clear about their own message.

Classification

The second approach is to classify the field and teach the classification. I call this orientation.  The idea is to help the client understand their own business needs and so interpret the approaches on offer.

The former approach, sometimes called Done-for-You or expert consultancy, simplifies using the black box model.  The latter, sometimes called Done-with-You or coaching, builds understanding.

Your Offer

These two approaches are found in many fields, eg healing, life coaching, business coaching.  In terms of your offer, pick one and whichever you pick remember you must simplify your field.

Most offers are too complex.  They dwell on matters important to the business and not to the client.  For example, I know what the word empowerment means but I have no idea whether I would benefit from empowerment coaching.  The world is full of people offering all manner of useful methods but it is much harder to convey what any method can do for those who use it.

And remember it is likely, whatever your prospects seek, they’ll be interested in something that simplifies.  Complexity is the problem, few people want more of it.

This is the nineteenth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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