To make the biggest changes, focus on the smallest things.

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

“It’s all too complicated.” We’ve all felt and sighed that. Life moves fast and can have so many layers, one can get paralyzed under the tonage.

Same with work. With so many channels of information constantly being updated even as we’re analyzing it all, we can get caught up in just staying current instead of creating change. When we get overwhelmed, we can’t be our most effective or happiest. If you want to change the direction of your life, of a company, of a brand, try to focus on one thing only. You have to block out the noise to hear the music. It’s that easy. Sure it’s an oversimplification. But oversimplifications can get you moving — and action wins.  So, instead of the entire web of intricate behaviors, see only the action of a single movement.

For example, since I’m hungry, let’s say sales are down 24% on your global company’s frozen turkey slices. You’ve stared at the data for days and the turkey still isn’t moving. So forget the data, the percentages, the fact that your company produces turkey for most of the meat-eating world, and imagine a single person in a single store passing by the rack and reaching for another brand’s product. Your entire mission goes back from this moment — all you need to do is get that consumer to reach just a few inches over for your brand. For right now, it’s not about the changes in distribution, the trucking contracts, rising cost of turkey feather pluckers, shifting trends in eating habits, new entrants to the marketplace — so much, too much. Just focus on moving that customer’s hand over to grab a cold handful of your turkey. That’s the entire mission.

In all matters it comes down to one thing more than any other: what is that one thing that will make the customer move? It’s not everything, but for this jump-start it is the only thing. If you can bite-size the matter, you can handle it more easily, you get unfrozen yourself. Same in your personal life: if you want to stop smoking, you need to see yourself not as a child being brought up in the house of a smoker, not a smoker yourself for 17 and a half years who has tried to quit and now will lose the love of your life if you don’t. You just have to see yourself simply not putting a cigarette in your mouth. Once you master the image, you are on the way to doing the action, repeating it. Where do you not put a cigarette in your mouth? In church, your kid’s classroom – see that; it’s a starting point. Small movements, no matter how small, shape all things. Small makes a big difference. All the difference.

2 Responses to To make the biggest changes, focus on the smallest things.

  1. Michael Tischer says:

    There’s incredible truth in what is said here. Personal experience validates it. Empirical evidence further solidifies it. Working in new business at an agency I’m constantly fighting to keep the message simple. We can’t perceive and explain everything all the time. By some evolution it has become our nature – amongst our busyness – to explain to one another in the most minute details. This continues the trend of “more” that you have touched on. We write more, on more things and become more complicated. More. More. More. The whole purpose behind effective messaging is making your brand clearly defined as concisely as possible. I constantly fight to cut out content in pitches. Removing the noise leaves what is really trying to be stated. This reverberates throughout all aspects of our lives, but advertising is a prime example because it is human. We don’t enter some vehicle to go to work. We don’t solve our clients needs within a spreadsheet. We have to be as capable as possible, thinking without limitation of clutter. I believe we won’t be simplistic and effective in business if we aren’t removing the noise in how we exist throughout our day.

    Vacation is an interesting example as well. Having just returned from an international backpacking trip through Central America I’m at peace. I was forced to exist with limited technology and limited tasks each day. I was forced to be simple. My mind slowed and more thoughts came out. The discussions that resulted amongst other international travelers were profound, deep and inspiring.

    Forget cigarettes, I am fully addicted to simplicity. And I don’t see myself giving it up.

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