In business, we are often looking for the perfect answer to our problems. The answer to our complex problem should be ‘simple’ – but is it really?
The idea of a simple answer to uncertainty and complexity drives so much of the coaching and consulting industries, because:
- People want simple answers to complex problems
- People buy certainty to escape uncertainty, and simple appears more certain than complex.
A critical question arises, however:
If the answer was simple, wouldn’t you have already discovered it and implemented it?
When we consider the nature of business, it is impossible to think of every business as the same. Each business has unique attributes and histories, including cultures, strategies and purposes. There are different capabilities, skills and processes. There are different capacities to operate and to adapt.
So how do we help such businesses?
We can look at ‘models’ – frameworks that generally apply to businesses in such situations. These provide a base template from where businesses can appreciate a best practice model of how a business in their circumstance perform. These can be useful, but if we seek to do what someone else did in a circumstance, how do we even know that will benefit us?
For example, if you wanted to replicate what Bill Gates did, would you end up with a better computer company? If you did everything that Richard Branson did, will you be a better entrepreneur?
The real issue is that we exist in complex environments where every action we take changes the environment, causing it to react to our action and change. This complexity means that if we look at old ways of doing better (or what someone else did to be successful) they may not serve us. Instead, we might have to develop a comfort for existing and succeeding in uncertainty and realising that there is no universally perfect answer or formula – only an answer that moves us forward in our current circumstance.
If there is no simple answer then how do we succeed?
How are you responding to complexity? Do you seek simple, or are you prepared to tolerate uncertainty and recognise that doing better is situational?
Doing better is iterative and adaptive to the complexity that you find yourself in.
What can we take away from this for our business?
- Anyone selling a simple solution may not be selling the solution that you really need.
- Define what is important in your complex ecosystem and solve the problems that this presents
- Prioritise actions that build value – value toward serving your purpose in the complex ecosystem that you exist in.
- Take action – and then test. Any action can lead to unexpected outcomes and responses.
- Be open to not knowing
- Be open to uncertainty and being out of control of what actually occurs
- Seek better in every moment, rather than seeking to be perfect.
So getting a simple answer or solution might not be so simple after all. You cannot buy the ‘secret’ to your own success – you have to create it in your own unique circumstance.
If you are prepared to accept that uncertainty, complexity and circumstance all are powerful influences of your business and that you are open to working on a continuous process of enhancing what you do and how you do it, then you are far more likely to generate success. Recognising that the answer lies by working with these aspects of your reality allows a completely different way forward.
Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? The answer is never that simple, it only starts there….
Contact me if you want to explore this in your unique context.