The Strategist

Easy peasy: How to make your business and private life simpler

04/27/2018 - 16:05

People dream that everything was simple. For example, the simpler your mobile application or terms of your user agreement, the more likely you achieve success. Here are some tips on this topic.

Why we like to make things complicated

People love simplicity. Students want to learn without effort. Adults want to learn easy foreign languages. And almost everyone likes to do simple exercises, like sit-ups or push-ups. We appreciate the ease. But just realizing this fact does not help much.

How to use love for ease in business? And why do organizations often complicate life for consumers?

Sean D. Young, author of a book "Stick with It" and Doctor of Psychology and Professor of Medical School of the University of California, calls the habit to complicate things a trader effect. It is a false belief that a person knows himself too well. Sean Young talks about traders who have to make predictions about markets every day. They confidently talk about numbers, but usually make mistakes. Even professionals are right in only 50% of the cases. We often make mistakes in predicting what we and others will do in the future, and thus tend to complicate everything. How to get rid of it? Here are three ways to make everything  easier.

Managing the environment

Changing the environment simplifies the situation and really helps to achieve the desired. The closer the desired object to the person, the more likely that it will be used. That's why local groceries are so popular.

Residents of areas with many alcohol stores drink more than those who have to travel a relatively large distance to buy alcohol. People make friends with those who live close by. So, why not to look for your significant one at work or university, where you constantly meet with the object of sympathy?

A diet from Google. 

Availability of food has always been one of benefits of working in Google. However, some employees were gaining excess weight because of this. After some time, newcomers often found that they gained seven additional kilos in average. To solve the problem, it was decided to complicate consumption of harmful foods and to simplify access to healthy foods. After the re-planning of the dining room, salads were pushed forward and into the center, closer to the entrance. Large plates and take out containers were replaced with small ones and M&M's were placed in opaque jars. These simple actions resulted in the fact that the number of “sweet” calories fell by 9% (from 29 to 20%), and fat intake - by 11% (from 26 to 15%).  

A limited choice

Plenty of choice is the advantage of the modern world. 24 types of jam, 15 varieties of granola, 10 varieties of ice cream... Modern people choose whatever they want. Yet, we often get tired of the variety and buy nothing.

The history of Pronto. 

One of the most striking examples is Pronto specialty groceries stores. When its owner Joe Coulomb opened grocery stores, he was confident of success. However, he could not beat his competitor, mini-market 7-Eleven, which quickly seized the market. Having realized that, Joe went to the Caribbean Islands to find the answer to the question: how to make attract regular customers to Pronto? There, he realized that he needed to bring the spirit of ease into the stores.

Joe knew: you have to make sure that the client bought what he came for without too much hesitation. Other stores have tried to satisfy customers' desires by offering a wide range of products. And Joe decided to confine himself to a small, clearly targeted selection. Other shops store all kinds of drinks, but Pronto was re-designed for a small number of wine connoisseurs living in the vicinity of Pasadena. According to the plan, Joe rebranded the Pronto stores and renamed them Trader Joe's.

This strategy worked and allowed the chain to change the behavior of buyers. And the success of Trader Joe's has been preserved for more than 45 years.

Road map

What is a good map? It makes the process of thinking about how to get from point A to point B easier. Having a plan simplifies everything.

That is why to-do lists are so popular nowadays: people download infographics, create checklists and read instructions on how to make their lives better.

Yale vaccinations.

Here is one of the studies of Yale University. Students were asked to evaluate materials on health care. The first half of the students were handed out booklets that told how to get vaccinated against tetanus. The second half received detailed instructions, a map that showed how to get to a hospital, and a vaccination timetable. Although all the students knew where the hospital was and could plan a visit, those who saw the plan of action came there more often.

Scientists and philosophers confirm: the simpler the better. And since the greatest minds appreciate ease, it's time to listen and stop complicating. If it is difficult to stick to something, then remove everything that prevents it. 

Based on “Stick with It: A Scientifically Proven Process for Changing Your Life-for Good” by Sean D. Young

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