Balanced Growth Challenges

By Edward Plant

Challenge #2

Too Complex

Complicated is HARD.  I don’t like hard.

This doesn’t mean I don’t mind hard work, I just want to see the results.

When we are talking about complicated being hard what we are talking about is that it drains you, its difficult to implement which causes you not to and you need to be a rocket scientist to work it out.  The final part of the puzzle is that once you start implementing circumstances change and the plan needs to with it. In the Army we called this “surviving first contact”. Most plans don’t survive first contact so need to be able to adjust and evolve.  The quality of the plan sets this up, but I digress.

I’m a big fan of EASY.

When I was in the army I deployed around the world with them.

During this time we had to solve many complex problems. Some of these were ‘wicked’ problems.

A ‘wicked’ problem is a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize.

Business can be full of wicked problems.

The challenge with wicked problems, apart from them being really complex is that as you start solving them, the parameters change.

You want more clients and so start marketing, but your customers change their mind, the google algorithms change (because its Tuesday), what was traditionally a busy period dries up, a staff member gets sick, your book-keeper drops the ball and the list of influences go on.

So how do you deal with this in business?

How do you grow and not be reactive and plan?

What we have done inside the Institute for Couples in Business is blended my military operational planning experience with 10-years of planning with couples in business.

The result is the Couples in Business Battle PlanTM.

In the Army, when I was deployed to Iraq, I was posted to the British Headquarters. We created plans for the division (about 15 000 people) to solve ‘wicked’ problems.  It had the potential to be complex. Really complex. But we kept it simple.

From these division plans we would distill it all the way down so that every 10-man/person group had a one-page plan that showed him everything he needed to do.

We made it simple and clear for them.

This is what we covered:

  • Commanders Intent
  • Outcome
  • Mission Essential Tasks
  • Nice to have tasks
  • Timings
  • Resources available

Our Institute for Couples in Business Battle PlanTM starts this process.

Of course if you bring complicated habits to this, you will make this complicated as well.

It’s a simple. It works. It supports you achieve goals in half the time.

This morning I was working with a client around franchising. If you’ve never done franchising it’s complex. If you have – it’s still complicated.

Anyway he was getting concerned about should I or shouldn’t I. How do I do it.  What do I need to research and pouring hours into this.

In 30-mins we got him clear on the a number of courses of action and started building his Couples in Business Battle PlanTM.

He was clear, knew what need to be done next and was able to remove a heap of stress and things off his plate.  

Now it doesn’t solve everything, but he is clear and will move quicker as of NOW.  Sure things will change, and we’ve pre-empted many of those. We will adapt and evolve as the Battle Plan unfolds.

Are you clear on what needs to be done?

If the answer is no, we should talk.

Do you want a simple plan?

Would you like to spend 15-minutes getting clearer on your SIMPLE Plan?

If the answer is yes, we should talk. 


About the Author

Edward is the Co-Founder and Lead Strategist at the Institute for Couples in Business. When he’s not nutting out smart strategies you’ll find him hanging out with wife and business partner Rebecca and his sons Samuel, 4, and Charles, 2. For the past seven years Ed has been working with business owners to double profits, halve hours and build self-sustaining business that thrives with or without you. Ed is also author of #1 best-seller Lead-The-Ship and a sought-after guest speaker who often gets mistaken for Prince Harry.